Grilled continued their recent dominance over FC RaZer Infernus by recording a fifth consecutive competitive win over the former S-League champions. Like their last meeting, a single goal by a defender was the winner, as RaZer tried to deny Grilled at The Cooking Pot with a packed four-man backline.
RaZer had pulled off a huge comeback to dismiss Team Singapore just last week on their home ground, so they may have felt that their allotment of luck was depleted for the time being. In any event, some may have questioned their Australian coach Kev McDonald's decision to sacrifice a midfielder in order to play himself, given his declining standards.
McDonald didn't do much to dispel those opinions as he was a peripheral presence at best, with RaZer barely getting any of the ball. Grilled centreback Anders Fredgård
was given far more license to roam than usual as RaZer sat very deep, and even got booked for an instinctive tackle on a RaZer defender in the opponents' box.
Paullin struck wide from a good position in the 27th minute, but any disappointment from that miss quickly dissipated when Grilled fans were treated to the unlikely sight of Fredgård rampaging down the left flank to pump a goal past Mak Jiao-Long. The Swede was about to celebrate by removing his jersey, before remembering the new rules and automatic caution - and in this case, sending-off - had he done that.
Grilled stayed in offensive mode, and van Liere was uncharacteristically aggresive in hunting down Kitrattana after losing out to the Thai midfielder. The ensuing challenge was out of order, though, and the Dutchman was rightly booked for that.
RaZer's tactics almost paid off early in the second hald as Grilled overextended themselves on a few occasions, and had Daniel Hellell maintained his balance his strike across the face of goal could have caused a lot of trouble for Sulaiman. That golden period didn't last long, and soon RaZer's old tormentor, Ola Martinsson
, would step to the fore with an array of dazzling tricks.
Martinsson first fed Dimitri Simon
with a curious little behind-the-back pass, but the Belgian got a bit too much follow-through on his swing and lifted it just over the bar. Martinsson was odds-on for a goal as he lobbed behind the goal before unleashing a strike with incredible spin on it, only for it to be pushed around the post by Jiao-Long at the last moment.
McDonald might have been rueing his decision to play himself as he suffered cramps at the tail-end of the match, but was brave enough to endure the final minutes after some ice-pack treatment on the sidelines.