Birds March On
Grilled waltzed their way into the fifth round of the Singapore Cup without breaking too much of a sweat, helped by the formidable firepower of their first-choice strikers. Rotteveel and Subri got a brace each, though Subri damaged his reputation somewhat with a blatant late dive after Grilled were already five goals up.
Geylang side 4rsenaL tried to contain Grilled with a pressing strategy, but came up short especially against Grilled's mobile forwards. The hosts held on for just thirteen minutes before Subri ghosted away from his marker, inviting the crossfield pass from Quah Han Kok
. Taking it comfortably on his thigh, Subri took one more touch before lobbing Bulgarian goalie Metodi Shopski with a twitch of his ankle.
4rsenaL were not unduly discouraged, and did an admirable job of clearing their lines until Subri found himself opposed by only Mark Thalhammer on the left. Thalhammer leapt in rashly, and was read by Subri who sliced his way into the box in response. Shopski spread himself to block, but was likewise disposed of as Subri claimed the goal with the side of his boot.
Rotteveel added one more as 4rsenaL's defensive limitations finally revealed themselves, with their players' initial rush of adrenaline wearing off. None of their players stuck close to the Dutchman when he received the ball on the edge of the box, which they soon learnt was often the prelude to a goal.Dani Spirig
contributed a fourth in the 62nd minute as Grilled entered third gear, even as 4rsenaL attempted to compensate for tactical ability with good old blood and guts. Dual tackles by Guillermo Suárez-Vértiz and Mark Thalhammer raised Liehner's heckles as the Grilled coach reasonably felt they they endangered his boys' legs, a sentiment shared by the referee who passed out cautions to both offenders.
Rotteveel made it five with his weaker foot, before Grilled lost Han Lik-Tsun
to a comical collision on the turn with his teammate Fabian Bona
. Han complained of seeing stars after the incident, which prompted Liehner to replace him with Lorenz Paullin
for the final ten minutes.
It was of course no more than a cameo for the Swiss midfielder, and Grilled could really have done without Subri going for his hat-trick in a rather dubious manner. The Grilled forward appeared to throw himself into Suárez-Vértiz after losing control just inside the penalty area, a move not appreciated by the Peruvian defender, or by the referee for that matter. Subri could still have gotten his third a minute later, but saw his finish strike the upright.