Benni: Polokwane didn’t come to the party

CAPE TOWN – Cape Town City came to play football at Cape Town Stadium, Polokwane City did not.

The end result was a goalless draw on Friday. The Citizens, who play four of their last six PSL matches away from home, dropped to fourth on the table (40 points – three behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns) as a result, with Wits having claimed a 4-2 win away to Bloemfontein Celtic on Friday.

Rise and Shine, who are unbeaten in their last six games, remain two places and three points behind City.

City had over 70% possession in a one-sided encounter on Friday and would have won at a canter had their strikers been on song.

Kermit Erasmus, who had scored in his last three starts, was the chief culprit.

The South African international had two golden opportunities to score but his orange boots weren’t playing ball. 

Siphelele Mthembu, the team’s leading goal scorer came on as a second-half substitute and in his 30-minute spell also fluffed his lines. Why the big fellow they call Shaka Zulu chose to pause and then dribble backwards with his first chance, only he knows. He then had time and space to break the deadlock in the 70th minute, but he fired straight at goalkeeper George Chigova, much to the frustration of his coach Benni McCarthy.

B19COLB46 - Benni: Polokwane didn't come to the party
Taariq Fielies of Cape Town City and Sammy Seabi of Polokwane City FC during their match at Cape Town Stadium on Friday. Photo: Luigi Bennett/BackpagePix

Chris David, who scored his first goal for City last time out, operated on the left of Erasmus and had the first chance of the game, but the former Fulham player’s shot never tested the keeper.

It was valuable points lost for McCarthy’s team, as well as Polokwane, who, to be blunt, deserved no reward for the way they played. McCarthy said as much after the match. 

“If that’s what they have to offer, the standard of the PSL is dropping. They didn’t come to make a fist of it, they were only interested in defend, defend at all costs trying to net a point. My goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh, he was tested once in a one-on-one situation, after that I never saw him again,” McCarthy said.

But McCarthy wasn’t unhappy with his side’s performance, saying the only missing ingredient was the goal. What does concern him though is all the media hype surrounding their league title challenge and how well the players are coping with it. 

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“It’s new territory for them, me too. I can only do my bit in telling them to focus on their football, nothing else. Easier said than done,” McCarthy said.

City’s next game is a Nedbank Cup last-eight clash with Kaizer Chiefs on March 31 at the Mbombela Stadium. Their next league game is on April 6 at Golden Arrows. 

Mike de Bruyn

IOL Sport

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