King Zwelithini Stadium took the fizz out of AmaZulu in Baroka defeat, says Benni McCarthy
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CAPE TOWN - The ghosts of King Zwelithini Stadium past came back to haunt AmaZulu, according to coach Benni McCarthy.
Prior to Tuesday's shock 1-0 defeat to Baroka, Usuthu had been on a record 16-game unbeaten run. This was built on transforming their new home ground Kings Park, where they have played all season, into a fortress.
However, AmaZulu were forced to return to their previous home venue, the King Zwelithini Stadium, on Tuesday for their clash with Baroka and it had a disastrous effect as the team's performance resembled that of yesteryear when they were perennial relegation candidates.
Even more frustrating is that the defeat has virtually ended Amazulu's title challenge as Mamelodi Sundowns now just need one more victory from their final four matches to secure the Dstv Premiership title.
"I think psychologically moving the game away from Kings Park affected the team a little bit because obviously this used to be the club's home ground but this season we have played every single game at Kings Park. We became quite accustomed to the stadium and the pitch," McCarthy said after the game.
"We were very familiar with everything. We have got some brilliant results there and then you have your home game moved to another stadium where you haven't played this season. It gives the opposition an opening to get in, but today the opposition team was very physical."
McCarthy, conceded, though that Baroka were full value for the three points as it helped them push Kaizer Chiefs into the 10th place whilst keeping the Limpopo's side bid to secure a top eight place alive.
"We were slow out of the blocks today. We know every team wants to beat us. The first half we were nowhere but second half we got better. It was just one of those days where the ball wasn't going into the net for us.
"We go back and have a break and regroup. We have three games left. We know it's going to be tough. We are disappointed but it was bound to happen. You can't win them all. They deserved it. They wanted it more," McCarthy added.