Cape Town City FC coach Benni McCarthy has all but accused Kaizer Chiefs of trying to hurt his players in their midweek Absa Premiership clash this week, after Teenage Hadebe leveled a crunching tackle on Siphelele Mthembu.
The Chiefs defender won the ball cleanly but his follow through left Mthembu injured, and he had to leave the game in the ninth minute. McCarthy, speaking to the media, felt the Zimbabwean tackler should have pulled back after winning the ball.
The former Bafana Banana striker said, as quoted on Kickoff: "I won't say it was a malice tackle from Hadebe - he went for the ball; in fact, he won the ball cleanly, but that's where it [should have] ended.
"You don't still need to follow through and try to take a player out because it might be a career-threatening injury, and the boy is just starting to find his feet again.
"I think that's the part that I don't agree with, when players make those kinds of tackles, because I certainly tell my players to be a bit more careful with the opposition."
McCarthy went so far as to say that Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp, who was sitting at the same media table at the time, should take responsibility for the tackles his players make, and that the intention was to disrupt the Citizens' game plan.
He added: "I don't want none of my players to take responsibility for an irrational tackle, in which they want to win the ball but also take out the opponent.
"Because, if that tackle causes [serious] harm to the opposition, then I, as the coach - because the coach is the responsible party for that - would have to take responsibility.
"I think that was pretty dirty [from Hadebe], because he won the ball already, but the intention was also to take Shaka out and, yeah, they got what they wanted - we had to change tactics through a forced change, and so be it.
"We couldn't play the kind of football that we wanted to play, because Shaka was a pivotal point in our game-plan, and then he had to go off."
City won the match 1-0 despite the setback, and are in fourth on the standings, one spot ahead of Chiefs. For his part, Middendorp was more distressed by the way his side lost the game, after a goalkeeping error with 10 minutes to go saw his side drop three points.
The German said: "It's absolutely unnecessary to come to the end of the game with zero points. Even one point would have been something. I felt the result did not mirror the game we have seen. I can't really find the right words at this moment for this result."