Not again, Aznan
Grilled Birds saw off BlueNite in their reverse friendly fixture at St Anfort, but it was altogether not a very happy Christmas Eve as key midfielder Aznan Noor Yadah
, just back from a long-term injury, was put out of commission for another three weeks.
The game itself could be described as Grilled testing its offense against BlueNite's defense as their respective formations dictated. Grilled experimented with using width, but the first lesson they learnt was that Stanton hadn't learnt his about risky passes. He must have made his trainers pull their hair out when they saw him gift the ball to BlueNite's lone forward Jiang Jong-Sik, who didn't score, though. Joe Stern
passed up two good chances, first in the 8th minute when Cheung Chee-Beng expertly parried his angled drive and then in the 15th when his free kick from close range looked to be destined for goal before curling tantalisingly wide. Stern played provider for Chen Chiew-Yen
after that, supplying Chen with the ball on a platter for Chen to break the deadlock. The first-choice strike pair of two seasons ago showed they had lost none of their understanding when Stern slid in on a defender and instinctively hooked the ball into space for Chen to run at while on the ground. Chen was first to the ball and took his shot in his strike, finding his spot perfectly. BlueNite's defence functioned better for the rest of the half, and the score remained two-nil at half-time.
Grilled's predictible attack patterns got no headway in the second half, as BlueNite threatened with a precise long pass which saw far-ranging defender Pan Fa-Hsien free in the box. He hit it over both Bao-Tam and the bar. Grilled had to wait until the 82nd minute before Aznan Noor Yadah
struck home after a nice through ball from Tim Blissenbach
bypassed Minh-Duy. To the team's horror, Aznan went down in agony after a legitimate challenge clutching his shin, and had to be stretchered off. Zhan Ju-Hau
took his place for the final five minutes, which saw off-colour defender regain some confidence with a nicely-weighted first-time volley past Chee-Beng, before Chen Chiew-Yen
completed his hat-trick with a similar shot from the other side.