CAPE TOWN – Cape Town City endured a difficult 90 minutes and an evening of frustration in a 0-0 draw with Golden Arrows at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday. The football on show certainly wasn’t good on the eye as both teams huffed and puffed their way through a game which sped along at a 100 miles an hour.
There was little inspiration or creativity, which is why it needed a player capable of putting his foot on the ball, slowing it all down and, in this way, try to break down the resolute defending on display: a player like City’s Teko Modise.
He, unfortunately, was on the bench and coach Benni McCarthy didn’t feel the need to risk the veteran. McCarthy has said that, because of Modise’s age, he is managing the player carefully. And, no doubt, with a MTN8 semi-final against Mamelodi Sundowns next Saturday, that match is priority.
Arrows, though, were full value for the point. They are always a tough team to face. On Saturday they performed with unflagging determination and they proved to be awkward, exasperating opponents for the Capetonians.
The Durban side was extremely organised all over the field and they were very effective in disturbing the rhythm of City’s game. They pressed like tigers and rapidly shut down the man on the ball, with the result that the Cape side found it difficult to build up from the back.
City still managed to dominate possession, though perhaps not in areas where they could be threatening. Striker Matthew Rusike was prominent in the opening stages, managing to get behind the Durban team’s defence on a few occasions. But, all in all, City’s best moments came from set-pieces – and, on one such occasion, from a corner-kick delivery, Ivorian central defender Koassi Kouadja was desperately unlucky to hoof an attempt wide at the far post.
With City really struggling for fluidity in the face of Arrows’ committed approach, and the Citizens’ shooting at goal rather woeful, they often had to deal with some scary situations in defence. The Durban side was quick to pounce and launch attacks when the Capetonians lost the ball – and, 10 minutes before half-time, they could well have taken the lead with a rasping drive from Siboniso Conco, but Dutch goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh brilliantly finger-tipped the effort against crossbar.
City have had bad luck with injury during this early stage of the season and it proved no different on Saturday when winger Surprise Ralani limped off on the hour mark. He was replaced by Riyaad Norodien – but, despite the addition of the tricky replacement, City were still unable to find a way through.
In fact, the Cape side could well have lost the match in the dying moments as Arrows’ Danny Venter flicked a shot wide in the 90th minute.
In the end, though, goalless was a fair reflection of the match.