Durban - Manchester United coach Alex Ferguson heaped praise on Premier Soccer League club AmaZulu following their pre-season friendly at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Wednesday night.
“They showed a lot of positive signs,” veteran manager Ferguson said after the game.
“I think they did very well. They weren’t overwhelmed by the occasion in any way.”
The 19-time English champions ran out 1-0 winners in a tightly contested affair, one of their two friendlies against local clubs, with the other being played on Saturday against Ajax Cape Town.
Federico Macheda was the hero in front of a capacity 51,000 crowd, when he collected a superb Dimitar Berbatov pass on the left, and drilled home a low right-footed effort beyond Tapuwa Kapini.
The hosts, spurred on by the start of their 80th year anniversary celebrations and the fact that they were playing many of their idols, upped the tempo thereafter and should have claimed at least a draw after squandering several opportunities.
“I think they changed their tactics a little bit to try and get on top of us after the goal," Ferguson said.
“In the first half, we had good openings through Berbatov, and our other forwards splitting the wings, but the second half was less so.
"So credit to AmaZulu that way."
The United coach singled out 30-year-old defender Tsweu Mokoro for special praise after the game following a solid display in which he played key roles in both defence and attack.
“I thought the number 32, the right back, did very well, particularly in the second half,” he said.
“He was very aggressive, very positive, a good defender.
“He covered his areas very well and I thought he was their best player.”
Last season’s English Premier League runners-up were playing the first match of their pre-season, world tour which also includes a trip to China and three European countries.
“It was satisfying -- you always like to win your first game," said Ferguson.
"In general, I think it was a good workout for us.
“We showed some signs of tiredness, but you can expect that in the first game of the tour."
AmaZulu coach Roger Palmgren was thrilled with his team's showing, in a game that was also played on the birthday of former President Nelson Mandela.
Both teams, along with the crowd, rendered a special version of ‘Happy Birthday’ to Madiba prior to the game.
"It was a wonderful occasion and we were happy to be part of it," Palmgren said.
“Overall, we acquitted ourselves very well and I’m really pleased.
"I felt it was a really nice game from both sides, entertaining for the spectators as well.
“Of course there was great respect for our opponents from Europe, one of the biggest clubs in the world.”