Light Speed Ahead
The One Ola
This season's doubleheader ended with Grilled grabbing all six points as Shadow Chaser FC go for glory against Herron in the quarterfinals of the Singapore Cup. Fresh from a morale-boosting 2-1 win over FC RaZer Infernus at home, Shadow fielded the same team against Grilled that went down 1-3 last week, with about the same result.
Clearly reserving their strength for Wednesday, they approached the game with a counterattacking attitude, allowing Grilled's offense to go at them. 30 year-old Ma Dai-Lin
was a firebrand on the left, tormenting Norwegian fullback Hans Norheim with his freewheeling. His antics gave Stanton enough space on the other flank to set up Ola Martinsson
nicely, but his hopes for an early advantage were dashed when Dan Borglind, who had denied him so many times in the last game, again came out like lightning off his line. With the gap closed, Martinsson pulled his shot far right.
Grilled's impetus opened the back door to Shadow, and a few direct passes saw Ming Hsien-Feng home free. Alcántara caught up just in time but swiped just a bit too high and gave up a free-kick. It was swiftly taken by winger Chye Lien-Ying, but Hang Bao-Tam
anticipated it brilliantly and made the save comfortably. In the ninth minute, Asher Stanton
got some cleats in the back of his calves by accident, then Robert Larsson got booked in a separate incident which saw Aznan Noor Yadah
flying through the air. Grilled no longer marauded freely as they were kept in check by fears of the individual talents of Hsien-Feng and Zheng-Rong upfront, and the game existed in a state of stalemate.
Shadow's midfield was economically impressive as the experienced partnership of Raskborg and Jansson cleared the lines playing just ahead of the defence, to the end that Grilled's forwards were feeding on scraps. Raskborg became the second player to be booked when he brought down Ju-Hau, but otherwise looked the more influental of the two.
The dreary game exploded into life in the 69th minute, as a tame-looking cross by Asher Stanton
hung high and was met by Lan Tuan-Mu
's driving header from outside the six-yard box. It went a metre wide of the post, but David Eric cleared it unsure if it had come off a teammate. That proved unwise as Martinsson, who had dropped back to cover some of the defenders' push upwards, responded with an unstoppable cracker of a shot to give Grilled the lead.
No one could have been blamed for that, but Martinsson for one was electrified and began going at defenders, spurred on by the home support. Three minutes later, with Dai-Lin drawing some men to him, Martinsson threw off one man with sleight-of-foot and made a run into the area. Jansson as the last man went low with a calculated tackle, but Martinsson had changed direction and it caught him on the shins. The referee had no qualms about indicating a penalty, and who else but Martinsson should line up for it.
Dan Borglind nearly kept up his great record against his countryman as he guessed correctly that the kick would be taken to his left, but Martinsson had given his ball enough height such that it was easily out of reach. With about twenty minutes remaining, Grilled began to make sure of the win with a defence first policy and indeed ended up victorious by two goals.