The Bass-Reflex manager succeeded in completely misleading his Grilled counterpart by banking on a pure long-ball game plan, but Grilled's highly experienced squaddies just shrugged and proceeded to hog possession. In the end, the hosts managed only a few touches of the ball, mainly on clearances, as newcomer Subri bin Ku Zainol
led his side with a hat-trick.
After observing Pulau Ubin Division Four club Bass-Reflex's impressive upsets of Test Runz and ChEErOsKi in the previous rounds, Alcántara quickly identified their strengths as a strong midfield supplying a very decent strikeforce. Their top German midfielder Étienne Lilienthal wouldn't have looked too out of place in the S-League, while his Swiss partner Primus Marending's wages of close to S$200 000 a week told much about his quality.
It was to Grilled's great surprise then that Lilienthal was shifted into central defence, certainly not his best position, and Marending was left on the bench; The strange 5-2-3 in fact had two wingers and no inner midfielders, and was destined to fail since the resulting five-man defence was not properly organized anyway.
Grilled did not realise that right away, and held a tenative lead for much of the match off Lee Jie Siong
's nice 15th minute finish. The hosts' initial fire masked their tactical deficiencies, but they started to run out of steam as the first half wore on. A complete breakdown in communication resulted in mass ball watching as Subri stealthily ran into the box to meet a clever forward lob by Spirig, though homegrown goalie Ahmad Termuzi bin Kadir saved their bacon that time.
Bass-Reflex almost scored on their only notable move, a canny pass the length of the pitch that eluded Bona, who by then was half-asleep as Grilled's only full-time defender. Striker Zou Qing Hong, playing off Bona's shoulder, got a good lead on Grilled's last man, and was unlucky to ping the crossbar with his strike.
That woke Grilled up, and they began slicing apart Bass-Reflex's rather makeshift defence with a combination of rapid passes and sharp dribbles. Simon was at the heart of a fluid pass-and-move, controlling the direction of play as he whittled out an opening for Dani Spirig
. Spirig added to Grilled's lead easily once he jumped through that gap.
This was followed by Subri being relieved to start his tally with Grilled, then Spirig dashing headlong in like before to pull Grilled's advantage to four as Bass-Reflex's backline self-destructed.
The home players understandably didn't have happy expressions on their face as they lined up in the same formation for the second half, anticipating what was to come. There was a half-hearted attempt to maintain their shape, made more frustrating by the heavy rain, in particular for right winger Wira bin Mohd Fuad who had to suffer the indignity of getting a faceful of mud.
Sid was odds on to score in the 68th minute as he was given time in front of goal, but the wet conditions appeared to get to him too as he swung his foot mostly over the ball. Grilled's players, seeing the result more or less safe, were not motivated to work up a sweat either, and encouraged the hosts to chase them down by passing it around at the back. They didn't.
Paullin decided that he had waited long enough towards the end, and pulled past Amir Batcha bin Salim on the right flank with a burst of speed. Sensing action, Subri moved up together with the Swiss midfielder, and was delighted to see the ball skip past a clumsy defender to him. With the goalie deciding to rush out rather late, it wasn't hard to send it over him.
Sid then saw his well-struck free-kick bulge the back of the net after it took an awkward bounce off the slick surface, and Subri sneaked in behind the defence to round off the first hat-trick of his professional career.