Five Past Eight
Struggle Of The Season
In what Öhmo billed as Grilled's match of the season, Grilled trumped their closest contenders 3-2 in their own arena as they took a five point lead at the top of II.1 which could well prove significant. Both sides entered the game raring to go, with Grilled eager to pull clear and TheUnknowns having established themselves as number one challengers by taking six points off perennial threat FC GBR in the last two matches.
Commentators have described the contest as a mirror match, with both teams sporting overpowered midfields, with Grilled having an edge up front and TheUnknowns with a marginally stronger defence. Knowing that the outcome will likely point out the fate of the league, Grilled reserved no quarter and threw everything into attack. Just six munutes had gone by when Belgian defender Johan Dewilde
stung Tobias Knutsson's ankles, sending him out of the game. Argentine José Velasco took his place in central defence.
Velasco crafted the first true chance in the 25th minute when he planted a cross smack into Grilled's six-yard box, which saw the ball bounce around dangerously for ten heart-stopping seconds before Luis Alcántara
got it out. TheUnknowns boasted the more fluent passing, but soccer as always has its own standards of justice. Grilled's Scandanavian shooters struck the first blow as Martinsson and Hjortlind stuck close together as the former brought up the ball. Van-Phuoc dispossessed Martinsson in due time, but Hjortlind was on hand to nudge the ball into the goalmouth.
Grilled got lucky again down the same flank as Shen Kek-Tjiang
dealt admirably with what is arguably what is Singapore's best indigenous midfield, as he traded a sweet wall pass and then hoofed a queer-looking shot that went right into the top corner past disbelieving stares.
Grilled battered down the hatches as TheUnknowns went for the jugular in a frenzied opening five minutes of the second half, but even nine men back was not enough to prevent Finnish forward Kari Jaatinen from receiving a brilliant sidefooted ball from Joe Dunne deep in the penalty area. Aznan Noor Yadah
didn't hesitate as he jumped in to block what would have been a likely goal, but clattered into Jaatinen for a certain penalty. Aznan escaped a card, but had to watch as flamboyant Spanish striker Alejandro Martínez Portoles lofted a cheeky shot over Bao-Tam that sent the stadium wild.
TheUnknowns went from strength to strength, and Grilled underwent some excruciating moments as Portoles came close again. Winger Luo Quang-Nhat appeared to have half his name on the scoreboard when he got a clear sight of goal just fifteen metres out with Bao-Tam guarding the wrong post, but for Tuan-Mu's valiant dash at the ball. Grilled had a few good minutes of possession after that, and Martinsson chose to run right at Velasco without an option to pass. Velasco herded him away from goal, but Martinsson was within his range and whirled around to put the ball past a diving Khong-Hai to make it 3-1.
By common consensus two goals was a good enough margin, and Grilled expended their efforts on destroying TheUnknown's pretty midfield play, with Kek-Tjiang falling back to add to the numbers in defence. Shen Shou-Xin created some aesthetic chances, one of which was taken by Quang-Nhat who slid in to divert his 30 metre pass into goal off Bao-Tam. That was the extent of TheUnknown's industry, and Grilled dug in to whittle the last minutes away for a significant win.