When We Were Queens
Grilled Birds suffered the earliest Cup knockout in their long history, as Division Five side of Kings n Queens claimed the scalp of the twice former winners at their home ground, The Palacce. Grilled had even fielded Sulaiman in goal and Simon in attack, but it was all for nought as their fragile midfield was overrun by a hearty performance from the hosts.
Although there have been some notable upsets in recent memory, with top sides being threatened relatively early into the competition, nothing had prepared Grilled for such a premature exit; They underestimated the ability of Queens' midfield pair of Chawalit Chidchob and Dimitri Graffin, however, as their own youngsters were hardly up to it, probably believing the game to be another stroll in the park.
It wasn't to be, as Queens began cautiously but began warming up to the fact that Grilled's untested midfield were ready for the taking pretty soon. Local-born right winger Yip Yao Tong wasn't tracked at all by Ødegaard, and sprinted unhindered for some thirty metres before Siu-Cheung belatedly tried to pick him up.
Yip had a wealth of options by then, though, and Sulaiman could do nothing as Israeli striker Avraham Altman got in front of Tuan-Mu and nicked the ball into his near post. Jalaludin bin Sabtu wasn't far either with a speculative volley sprayed a few yards wide, but there was a general sense that Grilled would soon equalise, and after that normal service would be resumed.
That rosy picture was spoilt when Yip easily got past Yao Wai Meng
on the right, with Yao looked as though he didn't particularly care to be playing on the wings instead of his preferred position in central attack. That negligence doomed Grilled to conceding a second as Queens had the numbers to support Yip's run, resulting in the winger being able to bluff his way to a clear shot, which he didn't waste.
It got worse when Sulaiman was nutmegged by Dimitri Graffin after further sloppy defending in the second half, at which point the Birds finally seemed to realise that they were in real danger of being dumped out of the Cup. Although three down, Grilled still had the quality in their side that Queens' current batch of players might never hope to match, and a newfound determination exemplified by Hjortlind's self-sacrificial block of a quick free-kick in the moments after the third goal.
Having prevented a fatal fourth, Hjortlind's attentions turned to attack, where Ødegaard began to find space to execute his lung-bursting direct runs. His pure pace was too much for Queens' Engelbert Sehr in the 70th minute, and laid the ball off to Hjortlind for the one-two. Hjortlind fired straight away despite Ødegaard being clear on goal, and thankfully nestled the ball right in the bottom corner.
Grilled pressed in search of two goals to tie the game up, and found a second after Hjortlind bent a corner kick long into the area of the back post. Bukhari was cut up as he launched himself into a header that Peter Eggskog parried, but Tuan-Mu was in the right place at the right time to scoop the ball over the line.
The Birds now had twenty minutes to find the crucial third, but Queens threw up a suffocating defence as Grilled's midfield continued to struggle to raise their game. Alcántara tried to inject some leadership by swopping roles with the ineffectual Wai Meng, but it was too late as Queens held on to record perhaps their most famous victory to date.