Grilled pulled to within a point of top spot as Zhan Ju-Hau
's 74th minute ace propelled them to a close 3-2 home win over the battling TheUnknowns. Grilled had always suspected that TheUnknowns might reserve their big midfield guns of Wee-Kiat, Dunne and Shou-Xin for their Wednesday Cup showdown with lcfc, but even their reserve midfield was a chore to overcome. With Kek-Tjiang dropped from the starting lineup due to a late fitness doubt, Grilled put Ju-Hau together with Siu-Yue for a forward-geared engine room.
Grilled's fans had not yet warmed their seats when Ma Dai-Lin
, starting on the left side, displayed breathtaking versatility as he cut in past Mikael Landborg to deliver a weighted cross into the middle of the box. The speed of that first thrust meant that the away team had no numerical advantage in the box as Martinsson and Hjortlind raced in. Martinsson's marker jostled into a good position to prevent him from getting up for a header, but Hjortlind was ready behind them and gleefully tucked the ball into the net with his first touch. That had the filled-to-capacity stadium on their feet.
Grilled were brimming with inventiveness after the early success, and Dai-Lin in particular looked like he had been given a new lease of life on the left. His jinking runs forced the defenders to give him close attention, and in the eight minute he bounced the ball off Landborg's thigh to win a corner. Martinsson swung a beautiful one in, tantalising the goalie Svaminath Jagannathan to come out for it. It was just as well as he didn't as Lan Tuan-Mu
connected with his head as it took a last-second curve, which Jagannathan clawed around the post.
TheUnknowns slowed the pace somewhat as Van-Phouc and ex-U20 player Hao-yung reclaimed control, and were unlucky not to have gone ahead when English winger Jeffrey Cormark dazzled Ju-Hau and then pulled past Tuan-Mu to unleash an unstoppable shot at goal. Hang Bao-Tam
could get nowhere near it, but it ricocheted off the underside of the bar. Alejandro Martínez Portoles was first to it, but the Spanish striker had Tuan-Mu nipping at his heels and directed his effort at the bar once more, where it bounced to safety this time. TheUnknowns central defender José Velasco was booked for delaying a free kick, but Robert Andreiescu gave his side heart three minutes from the end of the half with a terrific blast from just outside the penalty area. Bao-Tam was again slow to react and could only watch as Grilled's lead evaporated.
Grilled surged forward from the restart and caught the opposition on the back foot once more. The play was messy but the ends justified the means as Siu-Yue had both Martinsson and Hjortlind to choose from as he bore down towards goal. He decided on the latter, and Hjortlind obliged with a sweet turn which left Velasco off-balance before pushing the ball over Jagannathan for his second goal.
Grilled piled on the pressure to try and get a third, and were left top-heavy as TheUnknowns broke down the wings. Chia Ah Nie combined nicely with Gao Hao-yung on the left, and just about got to Hao-yung's final return ball to divert it over the line. Grilled injected yet more urgency into the game, and the next few minutes were a frenzy of activity as goal hero Andreiescu got off lightly with just a yellow after he went in very late on Dewilde, before Hjortlind threw away a hat-trick when he fluffed a great chance which Dai-Lin made.
Grilled were not to be denied however as Zhan Ju-Hau
beat the offside trap, getting free on the right and beat ing Jagannathan from range. The final minutes were nervous for the mostly partisan crowd, as TheUnknowns looked all too capable of equalising again, but Grilled held out.