Plastered By Platax
Grilled tumbled out of the Mönninghof Cup to French third division club FC Platax, with their yellow-shirted foes running rings about them. Platax's overarching solidity was second to none, and if they had a flaw, it would have to be their reluctance to attack freely - which was just as well, or it might have gotten extremely ugly.
Rattled after the likely extinguishing of their league dreams by -Blitz-, Grilled were not in the best of conditions, and the choice of Vikram Mudaliar
in midfield - probably to insert extra pace - proved ill-founded. Platax were too good to be hurried in that manner, and they were no slowpokes themselves, especially on their left.
It was indeed down that side that Platax made most of their early entreaties, with German winger Torsten Lienesch being one of the few able to press Cyril Künzler
back. He made the opener for fullback Adrien Chabbert in the twelfth minute, and might have got one of his own had Julien Bétrancourt kept his calm in passing, having already shaken off Yuta Nakakita
The veteran forward would find the net with a slick flip in the 27th minute, which would be shortly followed by Absalom Ahmed's wonder effort, after Islom Davlatov
's brave charge was smothered by Silvère Demoulin's equally-fearless dive. Grilled couldn't catch a break, as their remarkable passing sequence in defiance was at last tipped over by the uncharitable Demoulin, off Yuta's lob.
The three-nil scoreline actually did not flatter Platax much, considering that those were the only two Grilled moves that could reasonably be construed as promising. Other than those, the Birds could hardly get past the midway line cleanly, with their forwards struggling to hold on anywhere in the opposition half.
Platax were masters of defending without appearing to do very much of it, and they were happy enough to stand off in the absence of immediate danger. The trouble was that Grilled never quite seemed to have the wherewithal to do anything meaningful in such situations, which moreover often ended with Platax turning it to their advantage.
This was exactly what happened upon the restart, with a resolute Grilled team spending several minutes trying to prise Platax open for a consolation. All it took was a moment's spacing-out by Mudaliar, for Platax to unleash a full-blooded counter through the middle. Philippe Souchon was ready for just such an opportunity, and he was returned the ball by Bétrancourt for a cool finish.
With there being no contest on how this would pan out, time passed very slowly indeed for the doomed Birds, who were let off the leash at intervals, only to have it then cruelly tightened. Platax would add a fifth and final goal through Chabbert in the 68th minute, after Chu Xin Lee
bungled his clearance from Absalom Ahmed's free-kick into the defensive wall.