CAPE TOWN - Benni McCarthy's mantra to his players is always that if they work harder than the opposition then anything is possible. But, at the Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday night, his Cape Town City team was undone by that very same approach when they lost 1-0 to Golden Arrows.
In short, Arrows gave the Capetonians a lesson in hard work and a feisty commitment to the task at hand. The Durban side may not have the flair or smooth technical skill of City, but they more than made up for it in the manner in which they went about their task.
It wasn't pretty, but it was damn effective. They fought, they tackled, they shut down spaces, they clawed for everything and, in essence, performed as if their lives depended on it. And, in the end, they were rewarded for their perseverance and industry.
In contrast, for City, It was a night to forget. While they dominated possession, they just lacked a creative edge and decisiveness in and around the penalty area. It has been the same old story for the Capetonians all season and it was no different on Wednesday night.
While the build-ups from the back were patient and effective, the moment the ball hit the final third it was if they lost their brains. To be brutally honest, they were simply clueless in attack.
Arrows had clearly come with the objective of keeping things tight and trying to catch City on the counter. It was a good ploy as they had some promising moments on the break, with the pace of Lerato Lamola especially troubling the City defence.
The Cape side just couldn't break down the resolute Durban team, whose shape and structure were rather impressive. As such, City were effectively restricted to long range efforts, which Ayanda Patosi and Surprise Ralani ballooned over the bar.
The best chance of the opening 45 minutes fell to Lyle Lakay, but the winger's goalbound shot was brilliantly saved by Arrows goalkeeper Maximillian Mbaeva.
And, with City not able to change gears early on in the second half, they paid the price as Lamola cruised into the penalty area to steer in a cross and give Arrows a 1-0 lead.
City continued to huff and puff, in search of an equaliser, but like the wolf in that famous fairy tale, they just couldn't blow anything down, nor could they find a way to get a goal.
In the final minutes, the Cape side threw the kitchen sink at Arrows, and there were some anxious moments for the opposition, with Kwanda Mngonyama hitting the woodwork. The Durbanites, though, hung on bravely for a great win.
The scoring problem is certainly becoming rather serious for McCarthy. Any football team with ambitions needs to make the most of its possession and territory. But, right now, this City side couldn't score if you gave them all free entry into a brothel.