Cape Town - Kaizer Chiefs coach Giovanni Solinas has explained that he took Leonardo Castro and Khama Billiat off late in the Soweto derby because they weren't fully fit.
Ryan Moon replaced Castro in the 73rd minute before Kabelo Mahlasela came on for the Zimbabwean star four minutes later. The latter substitution in particular irked supporters, as Billiat had scored the opening goal of the game.
Chiefs ultimately lost Saturday's match 2-1, with Innocent Maela cancelling out the opener before Vincent Pule scored what proved to be the winner.
"Khama and Castro's fitness today is not top. Castro came from a long injury, so it was not possible for him to play 90 minutes. Castro said to me: 'Me, I can play 75 minutes maximum,'" Solinas told SuperSport.
"Khama Billiat also is a little bit tired, so I prefer to put another fresh player for movement, for pressing high."
Solinas apologised to Chiefs fans for the defeat, saying: "I apologise to the supporters for this derby [loss]. We started the game very well, we led 1-0, after that we lost the concentration.
"We were soft defensively. We lost concentration in set-pieces. We conceded a goal from the corner. [In] the second half, we were much better. We were aggressive. The players played well in the second half.
"It's a pity, we wanted to win this derby for our supporters, but I apologise. We will continue fighting. We created the chances, but we need to convert them. We move on. We take a lesson from this derby. We are a work in progress."