SANTOS coach Duncan Crowie was satisfied with his team’s performance, despite the narrow margin of their Nedbank Cup victory over NFD side University of Pretoria.
The Cape side recorded a 1-0 last 32 win at a cold and windy Athlone Stdium on Wednesday night, thanks to a first half free kick from captain Tyren Arendse.
AmaTuks looked a rejuvenated team after they came out for the second half, but could not make a 15 minute period of pressure count, as Santos, aided by some solid goal keeping from Pa Demba Touray, held firm to ultimately emerge fairly comfortable winners.
Crowie was satisfied with the night’s work, even though Tuks were always in with a shout.
“We didn’t play that well in the second half, but the good thing is we were going forward all the time, wanting to score another goal.
“We kept things tight at the back which was good. They came at us in the second half, but we kept our shape well, especially Tyren when he moved to the centre – he kept shape beautifully.
“But at the end of the day this is a knockout game and if you win 1-0 or 24-0, it’s the same thing in terms of going through.”
Santos midfielder Matthew Pattison walked off with the man-of-the-match award for his all action display in the engine room, and admits his side had been in a battle.
“It was good win, a tough game as we knew it would be, they are a good team, top of the NFD.
“I’ve been here nearly a month now, it took time, but we have been working hard on the training pitch, so we are getting the right combinations and the right balance, its going well.”
Tuks coach Steve Barker says his charges just lacked that little bit of composure where it counts most – in front of goal.
“Second half we put them under pressure, we had a couple of half chances, but maybe just lacked a little bit of experience. At the end of the day I’m very proud of my players, they put up a good fight and were unfortunate not to at least take it into extra time.
“The goal looked a bit soft and I think we could perhaps have dealt with it better. I didn’t think Santos were much of a threat first half, expect at set pieces, and unfortunately they scored from one of those.
“I’ve got a good young squad, a lot of youth, but sometimes you do miss the experience,
“Credit to the lads, they have had a taste of top flight football and acquitted themselves well. Now we go back to the league – we have 11 games left and hopefully they can put the same effort shown tonight into the league campaign.”
AmaTuks attacker Philani Khwela also rued his side’s missed chances, but for now the exciting prospect on loan from SuperSport United goes back with the rest of his team to focus on the promotion chase.
“From my side I think it was just a pity we didn’t convert our chances, but I think all in all we played well.
“If we continue to play like this and work hard, I think we do well in the league.”
In another last Nedbank Cup’s 32 match Platinum Stars beat Dolphins 5-0 at the Royal Bafokeng Stsdium to proceed to the last 16 stage-PSL website