Luck Of The Day
Grilled survived a tricky trip to bogey arena Kel Sirlin as a huge dosing of luck brought them to an undeserved 3-1 win over Shadow Chaser FC. Grilled were outmatched in defence but not bettered in other departments, the cool finishing of golden boy Ulf Hjortlind
being the clincher. His more expensive compatriot Ola Martinsson
scored too to remain atop the league top scorers' charts, but failed on many other good chances which could well have proven to be Grilled's downfall.
If Shadow Chaser FC had their mammoth Cup decider against FC RaZer Infernus on their minds, they did not show it as they threw out their first team against the Birds. Grilled were wary of the revitalised team, who were on a five game winning streak, but kept to their usual style of play with Rottman getting the nod over the overstrained Johan Dewilde
Skipper Alcántara had been shuffled over to the left to allow Rottman more backup from Tuan-Mu, but they were not called upon much as Grilled had the lion's share of decisions from the referee going their way. A few chances were set up, and the one in the 28th minute should have ended in a goal as Siu-Yue picked out a charging Martinsson who appeared fractionally offside. The linesman was silent to the shock of Shadow's defenders, but Swede goalie Dan Borglind saved the day by keeping low to block Martinsson's shot.
The bulk of the ninety thousand were on their feet when Ming Hsien-Feng was taken off the ball in the box by Tuan-Mu, but the penalty never came and Hsien-Feng was booked for his attempt at regaining possession by hooking Tuan-Mu from behind. They were slightly mollified when the referee got it right in the 42nd minute, giving Shadow a free kick near the corner flag which winger Chye Lien-Ying hoofed into the six-yard box. Bao-Tam misjudged the flight and was out of it but Stefan Raskborg's finishing header went behind for a goal-kick.
In three minutes which had more action than the rest of the half, Hang Bao-Tam
sent his low kick to the feet of Ma Dai-Lin
, and the veteran wingman went down his flank brooking no opposition. He got as far as the penalty area before playing the ball back to Ju-Hau, who dummied for Hjortlind. Sizing up the situation, Hjortlind put his weight into his shot and was rewarded when in went in off the far post.
Grilled were duly jubliant, but Shadow were fuelled by the apparent injustice and pushed up right from the kick-off. Ming Hsien-Feng tried to answer with a half-volley out of the blue from all of thirty metres, but it spun just over the bar. On their next attack, Shadow levelled as their latest signing Marcos Francisco Pérez of Argentina played a short pass to Mats-Erik Jansson, whose chip dropped over a hesitating Bao-Tam to even things out at half-time.
The early second half was marked by a succession of well-crafted moves originating from Ju-Hau and Siu-Yue, which coupled with more luck resulted in a few half-chances which Martinsson blew. Once, he peeled away from David Eric to come up alone against Borglind for the second time, but again he was foiled as the goalkeeper's reflexes allowed him to bat away Martinsson's attempted chip. When Borglind saved a perfectly good header destined for the top corner of his goal from Martinsson, the striker held his head in despair.
Shadow were growing in stature as their defence coped easily with Grilled's attacking routines. Au-Yong Siu-Yue
's role was diminished when he picked up a caution for one untidy tackle too many, showing that his defence still needs a lot of work. Dai-Lin, who was a passenger so far in the half, sparked the team as he began to exploit the space left by Chye Lien-Ying on the right.
Suddenly with a lot of room to work with, the savvy winger outfoxed young defender Torkel Pettersson with a timely change of direction and booted a chest-high cross goalwards, just the right height for Martinsson's lunging header. Shadow had not recovered from that surprise when Hjortlind punished them further with a superb effort in mid-air from Kek-Tjiang seconds later. Quite understandably Grilled were happy to sit deep and soak up the pressure for the remainder of the game with a two-goal cushion, which lasted to the final whistle.