Nine Minutes Of Fate
FC GBR trampled over Grilled Birds for most of the game, but for a stunning fightback that made a team 4-1 down and with a noose tightening rapidly around their collective necks in the 70th minute lead by one goal in the 80th. A good portion of the over 73000 paying fans sat out unprotected in the pouring rain, in anticipation of the potentially title-deciding tie.
FC GBR could overtake Grilled to claim pole position into the league run-in, and that was exactly what seemed about to happen facing a thin squad with the young Rottman plugged in at right wingback, Dai-Lin benched and Hjortlind conspiciously missing through suspension. Grilled drew first blood as both teams were still settling in, as Lan Tuan-Mu
risked leaving his defense one man short as he swopped positions with Alcántara and sought to overlap Zhan Ju-Hau
on the left. The captain pulled it off and went on to touch a sweeping pass from Shen Kek-Tjiang
That set FC GBR's supporters howling in the terraces such that their chants could be heard above the rain. Grilled's slender lead dissipated after three minutes, as Stanton was lucky not to get himself booked after he thrust out his arm to ward off a stinging shot by Dan Ilie. No one argued that FC GBR were due a penalty for that offence, and defender Nils Thorkvist put all his weight behind the ball to ram the ball straight down the middle.Joe Stern
's speed was severely curtailed on the increasingly waterlogged pitch. still, he nearly put away a half-chance as he went it by himself, earning a corner as his shot was batted away from goal. Old hand Falkenstål may be past his prime, but he showed that experience is its own reward when he spiralled neatly past a bemused Rottman and caught Bao-Tam too far out in the 16th minute. Tuan-Mu was by now yelling for his players to regroup, and Grilled held out resolutely, with Tellskär cautioned for his spirited tackling. FC GBR then struck from deep, as Nils Thorkvist got his name on the spectators' lips with a tremendous free kick from over thirty metres which slipped out of Bao-Tam's grasp. Perhaps a more seasoned goalkeeper would have elected to punch out in such adverse weather, and that must have been of no comfort to Bao-Tam.
The game appeared to have been settled by the 68th minute as FC GBR appeared very comfortable on the ball, and Falkenstål's second goal looked like just a nice bonus for the winning side as he lifted Canonica's cross over Bao-Tam after midfielder Ulf Andersson tried a couple of shots. Grilled had but one botched effort to show, and with Rottman the second Grilled player finding himself into the referee's book, it looked a bleak day indeed. However, the free kick was blocked by the four-man wall and Alcántara kept his head to search out a breaking run by Stern. FC GBR were undermanned at the back, and Stern got the ball away to Wilson Kearney
at the last possible moment for the American to have a decent close range chance which he put away professionally.
FC GBR were not put down by this, but they started to be when Daniel Tellskär
saw some hesitant defending and pressed on all the way through the right side to rifle a shot in at the near post. Thorkvist saw his prior achievements rapidly evaporating as he struggled to contain the suddenly-active Kearney, as Stanton put in some surging runs on the newly-vulnerable flank. FC GBR were back in numbers this time, but Stanton's cross in the 79th minute was destined to fall to debutant Jon Andrea Rottman
, who nearly fell over the ball but did the business, directing it over the line to tie the game at 4-4, an entirely improbable situation.
The few remaining Grilled fans went wild as more than a few nails were bitten by the majority of the watchers. The suspense which always exists when two teams are tied nearing the end of a high-scoring game was not to last, though. In all of thirty seconds Shen Kek-Tjiang
found himself the toast of the team when he chanced on an untimely slip by Rahmgård in FC GBR's defence to power through and place his shot perfectly to the lower left corner. As the enormity of what had happened sunk in, Shen was stunned for most of a minute, and the crowd went absolutely berserk. The referee had to wait for security to assess the situation before continuing with play.
For the hectic final ten minutes, Grilled had clearly decided not to push their incredible luck any further and pulled every single pair of legs back into their own half, harrassing and clearing like there was no tomorrow. When the four minutes of extra time were finally played out, the Grilled bench erupted onto the pitch to congratulate the heroes of the day.