Grilled Birds did what was required as they scraped to a 2-1 win which was as vital as it was dull. Grilled seemed to miss the extra attacking impetous of Ju-Hau and Blissenbach, who was marked for transfer, while the Punishers threw caution to the win with a new 4-3-3 formation and a style of play which tried to bypass the crowded midfield.
The pairing of Noor Yadah and Kek-Tjiang, while solid, is not one likely to supply many chances, and they had barely squeezed the ball through to Kearney for the first time when Persson used his anticipation to cut it out. The mammoth clearance fell metres from anyone and Punisher's energetic winger Xu Kam-Kee, originally from Chinablack, won the footrace between him and Dewilde. Not waiting for Tuan-Mu to return, Kam-Kee then unleashed a powerful curler beyond Bao-Tam to set the travelling fans off.
Grilled tried with Siu-Yue seeing it as a personal challenge by Persson on his side of the field, and lofted a delightful centre to Asher Stanton
in the middle. The young Eurasian connected fully with the cross, but Tan Sai went down in a flash to deny him the equaliser. That honour was to go to Rottman, who four minutes later headed past Sai from a pass by Stanton.
Remembering the damage that Hjortlind did when he was left unmarked in the last encounter, Punishers' defenders were careful not to yield him an inch of space. An obviously rattled Hjortlind retaliated in kind by clumsily barging Dang off the ball, for which he deserved and got a yellow card. Kearney shielded the ball well and squeezed in a half-hearted attempt which nonetheless skipped on the grass and nearly went in. Kam-Kee all this while was accorded special attention by Dewilde, and effectively cut out of the game. Kam-Kee, like Hjortlind, tried the hard way out, and was similarly booked.
The second half was not much to speak about as both sides saw the game in perspective, as Punishers tried not to take unnecessary risks while Grilled also were loathe to overextend themselves. The result was a very tactical but slow game where attackers on both sides were heavily outnumbered. Asher Stanton
's impatience for once benefitted the team as he hit an ill-advised pass blindly into the Punishers' half. It was a one-in-hundred chance which saw it take an early bounce off Rundwald and go direct to the barely-onside Hjortlind, who wasted no time in taking the shortest route to goal and finishing the game off.