The Team of Choice began the match strongly but having failed to take their chances, they found themselves up against the wall when Gabriel Nyoni was sent off 10 minutes before half time.
“I thought we started the game extremely well,” coach Eric said. “In that first 20, 25 minute period we should have been at least 2-0 up with the chances we created, we looked a threat every time we went on the transition.
“Then the game changes when Gabriel gets sent off, because everything that we’ve planned tactically basically goes out of the door,” he continued.
“Once or twice we got caught by (CT City) on the transition because of the more numbers that they had.
“Half time I spoke to the players of the intelligence needed when playing with a man short, you’ve got to be very compact, you’ve got to keep the lines well structured, you can’t just leave Judas (Moseamedi) up there alone.”
There was another big setback when the Citizens took the lead through Thabo Nodada 10 minutes after the restart.
But United, with a packed Harry Gwala Stadium urging them on, remained positive, and at times it was easy to forget that they were playing with a man short, such were their efforts.
“Obviously the goal changed things, now you’ve got to change the approach, try and press them - otherwise they were just going to look to keep the ball,” the coach explained.
“We made the substitutions, played with two up front, pressed them and forced them into mistakes and we got the equaliser.
“I’m extremely proud of the boys because they had to work extremely hard, they showed that conviction, the energy, the commitment that I wanted from them after what was a poor performance against Baroka (a 2-1 defeat last Sunday).
“I needed them to bounce back and they showed that – a lot of character, a lot of heart and I’m very, very proud.”
The fight eventually paid off for Maritzburg with a 73rd minute equaliser, and another positive for the KZN Capital City side was a first goal for Jeremy Brockie.
Coach Eric explained how he has been urging the New Zealand international to try and take the pressure off himself, and that seems to have come to fruition on Friday.
“Jeremy has been fantastic the whole week in training, he was a different man. This week he was scoring for fun. Today he shanked one in, but it’s just about getting off the mark.
“He came on with the right energy and mindset. I was happy for him because he needed that goal to lift some pressure off his shoulders.”
The Team of Choice will now start preparing for next Friday night’s Nedbank Cup last 32 encounter away to Stellenbosch FC.
* You can get behind the Team of Choice through our social media platforms - please click on links below: