Ola Out Too
Grilled were fortunate that the best chances all fell their way in the Cup derby against plucky Division Four Jurong FC, but were left frustrated by Martinsson's inexplicable leg injury late in the match. This too after Grilled had the game practically sewn up, and which leaves them with a selection headache for their upcoming league fixtures.
Jurong FC had excelled in their previous Cup games against Holy Satans and FC ESPN, though perhaps at the cost of league performances as Grilled's scouts had reported their Sunday matches as relatively listless. They had recently brokered a trade of prized Paraguayan ex-U20 international striker Martín Servián for around S$2.6 million, which quickly went into purchasing a Romanian replacement Maximilian Tufeanu; Grilled were not about to grant Tufeanu an easy debut, though, and continued their policy of fielding their strongest possible squad.
The hosts were lauded for their tight, balanced midfield, and it was easy to see why as German playmaker Ünsal Ertüze proved hard to get off the ball, and local defensive midfielder Ang De Hui did not shy away from making challenges. One of these resulted in an early set-piece opportunity that Sid whacked onto the crossbar. The Polish wingback got a second chance after Paullin was obstructed, and duly put Grilled into the lead with additional dip on the ball.Hidde van Liere
's return was something to smile about for the Grilled fans, who joyously celebrated as he pulled off a no-look backheel that Simon anticipated brilliantly. Though the two have not yet set up a true telepathic understanding, this was about as good as it gets, and Simon responded with a cutting strike into the netting.
The hosts could have been dumbfounded as they were matching Grilled stride for stride and had an equal share of possession, and yet went two down at this early stage. The conservative decision to field the new Tufeanu as a lone striker with Peter Marcusson in the hole may have influenced their lack of bite, as Tufeanu found himself with few passing options whenever he received the ball.
Kek-Tjiang continued his revival with a typical cannonball shot after his run was not picked up by either of Jurong FC's central defenders, who had been distracted by Grilled's forwards. They then suffered a further setback when central midfielder Ang Min En went down in pain after a sudden sprint and had to be replaced by Polish teenager Filip Trzaskalik.
van Liere was still some way from full match fitness on the evidence of him missing a sitter - Spirig's volley bounced right in front of him at the far post and all van Liere had to do was to stick a leg out to score, but the Dutchman didn't make a move. He did provide yet another assist before half-time, a simple cross that Martinsson shoved in for his first Cup goal of the season, extending his record of scoring in consecutive Cup campaigns to twelve.
Truth was Jurong FC were actually good value for a half-time draw, given their tenacity in midfield, but Grilled simply took all their chances when they came. It was obvious that Grilled were not extremely interested in exhausting themselves in the second half, rarely fully extending themselves. Indeed, their only shot attempt was a free-kick that Bona took early. Sadly, Simon was offside at that time.
Ironically, Grilled's attempts to avoid injuries were to no avail as Martinsson landed heavily on his shooting foot after a routine aerial challenge. The referee stopped the game immediately after seeing Martinsson's grimace, and the forward had to be carried off after a liberal dose of ice failed to contain the swelling in his knee. Young hopeful Mohd Firdaus bin Yaacob
was thus able to get a taste of later-round Cup action, but predictably was well out of his depth.