A brilliantly bright afternoon at The Cooking Pot saw a near full-house gather for the visit of the second-placed S-League team, the team that never was. Desire for a good accounting of the Birds after an earlier meeting between the sides had finished 5-2 in never's favour might have come into play, and Grilled obliged with a cracking 4-2 result to continue their recent mini-revival of sorts.
The team that never was came into the match without influential midfielder Li Chun-fai, who was hurt in their 5-0 thrashing of Chemistry last week. This was not enough to dissaude their coach from sticking out a 3-4-3 formation, maintaining their breathtaking all-action attack while keeping a shell of a defence. The best of tactics it may not have been, but neutral supporters were certainly not complaining as they enjoyed six top-quality goals.
Andreas Sunesson, who completed last Sunday's rout by never in fine fashion, was the star early on as he made the most of Grilled having to play into the sun after losing the coin toss. Anders Fredgård
barely managed to keep him from creating dicey situations with several well-timed challenges. The home side adapted after some twenty minutes, though, and began to make inroads into the shaky visiting backline. Martinsson was first to get a good look at goal after Xi Quoc-Sung fell to his crisp footwork, but his ambitious clipped strike flew well wide.
Simon got Grilled right back onto the offensive as he took Kek-Tjiang's long header back from the goal kick well, allowing him to turn inside his marker and fire a shot off; The powerful waist-high effort took a slight deflection off Alameda, but even as Simon raised his hand to demand a corner, the referee went one better and awarded Grilled a penalty.
The never players had something to say about that especially since contact with the hand, if it happened, was likely unintentional, but since when has arguing after the fact changed the referee's mind? Sid and Martinsson had a little talk about taking the kick, and in the end Sid thumped the ball into the bottom left corner like an automaton.
The visitors had their best chance very late into the half when Sulaiman rushed out of his box and cleared a dangerous through ball, taking Davidsson down at the same time. Flamboyant right winger Ángel Ferrer sized up the free-kick and cleared Grilled's four-man wall easily, only to see the ball's wickedly bending trajectory bring it just past Sulaiman's upright.
Ferrer had better luck with a sweet piece of vision by Alameda on the right after the break. The Argentine defender drew two men to him before climbing highest to pick out Ferrer free in the six-yard box with a pinpoint header. Ferrer needed no further information to transfer the ball to his stronger left foot before blasting past Sulaiman to level matters.
It took just six minutes for Grilled to find a reply, in the form of Sid's right boot. Already by far Grilled's top scorer this season with sixteen goals in all competitions to his name, the Polish defender was called to action after Lee Jie Siong
forced a free-kick some twenty-five metres out. Distance was no obstacle to Sid's genius, though, as he cleanly hit a bazooka that found the far end of Riis' goal.
Grilled put the game beyond doubt with a pair of finishes by their first-choice strikers before the 80th minute. Simon's contribution was undeniably all his own effort, after he found himself closed down only by Alameda after getting the ball from a clearance. Instead of holding the ball up blindly, Simon took his chances with Alameda, who was not exactly known for his pace.
Indeed, the Argentine recognized that too and gambled on an immediate tackle, but this was read beforehand by Simon who dodged it and went on his clear run to goal. Left with no choice, never's goalie Riis came out, but Simon was again sharp enough to lift the ball over him before the angles were closed.
Martinsson then collected his second goal in three league games by keeping his composure after a fully fledged assault saw him picking up the ball just five metres out. He hesitated for a split-second, thinking he must surely be offside, but upon possibly catching side of an opposition defender lying almost on the goal-line out of the corner of his eye, the cool Swede passed the ball into the net for Grilled's fourth.
The team that never was struck back in the 81st minute through veteran striker Johan Davidsson's canniness, as he more than compensated for his failing pace with a sense for goal. Seeing Sulaiman out of position by the barest of fractions, Davidsson tried for the Egyptian's bottom far corner, and just managed to thread it in off Sulaiman's fingertips.
That did not change the final result, and the last ten minutes saw only Grigore Morariu's yellow card for a reckless high boot mar an otherwise unblemished match.