Grilled reclaimed pole position in the S-League with a no-nonsense 0-3 away victory against United Warrior Team, who concentrated their efforts on covering Grilled's passing options but were undone by the lethal sharpness of Rotteveel.
Knowing that Grilled had no choice but to win if they did not want to hand the championship to Rollin' Thunder on a platter, the Warriors likely made the decision to deny the Birds early on and exploit defensive lapses after they were forced to seek out a goal. That plan was rudely shattered when Siew Tian Chin hesitated to head out a bouncing goal kick, and let Subri knock it on with an early jump.
Grilled's captain Han-Lik Tsun had no reason to be so far up, but no Grilled fan would question his positioning as he pressed forward in search of the loose ball. What a time indeed for Han to claim his first goal of the season, a defender's unadorned cannonball of a kick that Afandi bin Zainal got in the way of but could not halt.
The Warriors weren't shy to attack back, and after a long series of passes Wu Kang-yin gave MacKinnon the slip and was lining up a shot when Rotteveel stepped in with a clumsy challenge. It was a clear yellow card, and forced Wu to step off the pitch to receive treatment to his knee. Knebelsberger swung the free-kick over the Grilled six-yard box, but too close to Valdir.
It was end-to-end stuff as another massive goal kick from Valdir was blindly hit towards goal by Han Kok and took a fortunate deflection off his own man. Afandi could have been in trouble, had one of his defenders not been covering the far post in a good act of anticipation. Paullin was taken down from the back by Knebelsberger in the 27th minute while running onto goal, resulting in a caution for the German winger.
Rotteveel then gave Grilled some breathing space with another of his famous bursts of acceleration. Long Shiu-Loong stepped out of his way for just a second, but that was all the opening that the Dutchman needed as he pushed off directly towards goal in a flash. Afandi closed him down somewhat, but there was just too much of the goal to aim for, and Rotteveel calmly hammered the ball into the top right corner.
Rotteveel then missed a seemingly better chance than that which he scored from after Talib split the defence in half with a through pass, and there was a slight sense of unease that Grilled could yet pay for their poor finishing when Lee Jie Siong
caught his spikes in the turf and twisted his foot. Lee had been instrumental in controlling the pace of the match from midfield, but it turned out that Fjällbratt was more than willing to step up.
The Warriors were awarded a penalty after Lik-Tsun had his hands all over Kang-yin after the latter sought to dribble past him, but Knebelsberger's day turned from bad to worse when he put his spot kick marginally wide of the left post. Valdir had guessed correctly, however, so anything less than a near-perfect strike might not have made it anyway. Grilled countered immediately with Han Kok's pace down the right, but Subri was wrongfooted when the cross came to him.Lorenz Paullin
was the standout of the second half, being a dynamo in chasing the ball, and with a couple of praiseworthy shots that came just short. The Warriors were otherwise able to hold Grilled at bay, but were unable to pose much of an offensive threat. Their tall midfielder Joey Habets will miss their next match after picking up his third yellow of the season, and the previously exciting runs of the 31 year-old Kang-yin slowly faded in the oppressive heat.
Bai Ming-Foo could have made it a nervous final ten minutes for Grilled when he brought down a superb fifty-metre pass with amazing grace right in the heart of Grilled's penalty area, but he fired over with Valdir completely at his mercy. It was then left to Rotteveel to cement the win with a precise chip in the 84th minute.