Eight Of The Best
Can You Smell What The Birds Are Cookin'?
Newly re-christened home stadium The Cooking Pot was a hundred fans short of a full house, on an otherwise perfect day which encompassed an unbelievable three-goal lead, a tenacious comeback and then a quick brace by rising hero Hjortlind to kill the game off. The cool weather augured well for slick play from two midfield-heavy sides, with FC GBR continuing its tradition of hiring top midfield talent with the addition of heavyweight Ulf Andersson to the first team some weeks ago for nearly eight million dollars. Though both sides were in sore need of a kickstart after indifferent starts to the season, none expected much in the way of scoring as the key to the game seemed to lie in the middle; Both encounters between the two last season ended 1-0 in favour to the home side.Wilson Kearney
ensured that at least that much would be achieved with a calculated feint in the 21st minute, losing Thorkvist and then depositing the ball over Vikwald into the far corner. FC GBR were stung by that, and right from the restart Ulf Andersson got booked for trying to take the ball off Kearney - and failing - straightaway. Aznan Noor Yadah
celebrated his return to action by tearing away on his flank none the worse for wear, and the youthful Hjortlind, still on a high after bagging five Cup goals in a single game on Wednesday, had only to flash his golden boots to double Grilled's lead five minutes later. Zhan Ju-Hau
looked to have made the result beyond doubt as he was first to Ma Dai-Lin
's quality cross. His header was shaky, but still enough to go past Vikwald as the referee waved aside complaints by the enraged goalie that he had been impeded. FC GBR were too experienced a side to go down without a fight, and they stopped Grilled's hitherio irresistable momentum with a canny goal by Åhlsjö in reply. FC GBR were further shackled in midfield when a second key midfielder, ex-national Ma Zhong-Yan got booked for a hard challenge on another Ma, Dai-Lin. Had Hjortlind taken his half-chance in the 39th minute the game might have been very different, but to the travelling fans' relief the 19-year old's touch deserted him this once.
FC GBR came out on all cylinders, playing with a team with the conviction of having nothing to lose, and their adventurous play got them a second goal as wingback Cheng Shiu-Hun's powerful header from a corner was spilled by Hang Bao-Tam
, allowing alert forward Dan Ilie to slide the ball in. Grilled fans had their heads in their hands when winger Tomek Krysiuk got the better of Thai stand-in defender Nui Pakpao
all too simply and levelled in the 64th, wondering if the absence through personal reasons of defensive marshal Luis Alcántara
would be the death of Grilled. Even though there was still almost half an hour to go, one could almost feel the collective holding of breaths in The Pot. Hjortlind wrote another chapter in his growing story by turning the game on its head, seizing the barest of opportunities on a deft pass by Kearney to slot the ball into goal off the post. Four minutes later, the Swedish lad put all beyond doubt as he applied overbearing pressure on FC GBR's defender Shiu-Hun, stole the ball and then turning Vikwald on his outside to complete a second hat-trick in a row to a standing ovation by the delirious Grilled crowd. Dan Ille got booked a minute later as FC GBR tried to claw their way back into it again, but it was too late this time.