Spirig & Sid Show
Grilled bounced back from being two goals down against an All Stars Team who eschewed any pretensions of possession for a brutally effective counterattacking style, thanks to Dani Spirig
's brace and a Sid penalty. The Birds were expected to get a result at home against one of the weaker sides in the S-League, though the Stars remained more than capable of pulling something out of the bag, as Grilled soon discovered.
All Stars Team had not enjoyed a particularly warm welcome to the top flight, and were still in search of their first S-League win after draws with RaZer and Team Singapore, and defeats by the team that never was and Herron; For a moment, it looked as though they would achieve it against Grilled, as they left the hosts dazed with lethal fast breaks.
Grilled may have been a little complacent when they lost possession in the 12th minute, with some of their players slow to recover their positions. They would regret their laziness when a concerted rush by Stars left Grilled badly outnumbered in the final third, and some calculated interpassing left Ulrich Rudolf free against Sulaiman. The Swiss expertly slotted the ball close to Sulaiman's body to shock Grilled with the first goal.
That was not the end of Stars' inventiveness, as their Serbian winger Boko Miljenovic's spins confused Sid, causing the Polish fullback to take him down. That brought Sid a yellow card, and the ensuing free-kick was lofted crossfield to Halil Gutmann, who defied gravity with an eye-popping volley of a ball at shoulder height to score.
The Birds were now staring defeat and the loss of three precious points in the face, but Spirig got one back five minutes later after he intercepted a pass meant for van Liere. The Dutchman, filling a striker's role, might have complained had Spirig not sped past Dan Dicu and delivered the ball past ZhangCai Da-Hoon in goal in a flash.
Grilled might have restored equality sooner had Simon been more alert to teenaged João Félix's irresponsibly bad backpass two minutes later. With open teammates all around him, Félix opted to pass to Mathias Brot, not noticing that the Belgian defender was busy with his shoelaces. Simon could have gotten the ball under control had he acted immediately, but he hesitated for a second and the chance was lost.
The Birds began the second half needing to score, and Anders Fredgård
almost did just that when he was left unmarked during a drawn-out Grilled attack. His chip flew tamely over the bar, unfortunately. It was left to Sid to tie things up with a chipped penalty down the left, after Jie Siong was held back in the opposition penalty area.
Paullin collected a caution for slicing down Stars' goalscorer Halil Gutmann in his rush to keep the ball in play, and appeared guilt-stricken after the Austrian had to be stretchered off. Longtime Stars starter Walker Knight replaced him, but was not in the same class as the departed Gutmann.
Spirig then struck again as Stars' defence finally collapsed under the constant pressure, and Grilled rode out the rest of the game safely enough, even without Paullin who received a second yellow card for restraining Klaghofer's forward run.