Hard-Earned Draw In Opening Match
Grilled Birds' inaugural match against Casilium United would have been a sham if not for some desperate improvisation by coach Qi Haupai
. Unable to receive orders in time from the manager, Qi fell back on a proven 4-4-2 formation with midfielder Ma Dai-Lin
playing out of position at the front and striker Chen Chiew-Yen
surprisingly not even on the bench.
Winger Gao Seng-kar
being deployed as the reserve keeper was strong testimony to how ramshackle the entire squad was, with the majority of the players having just trained together for the first time. "I can't shoot for peanuts.", Mo Hiu-Lam
admitted. "Usually I play attacking winger, but it isn't bad that I got to start for the first time in months. I thought they brought me in for my leadership qualities."
Despite this inauspicious beginning, Grilled had the better of the chances in the early part of the match though the players' understanding was far from telepathic and the soccer was often difficult to watch. Ma Dai-Lin
, the $700000-odd star of the team, was impressive only in spurts, despite his chronically poor finishing. He did however contribute to the first goal in Grilled Birds' history as he bent a corner in for heading specialist Kau Siu-Cheung
to finish off.
From then on, it was mostly one-way traffic though chances were few and far between. Casilium scored on perhaps their only half-chance as Jue Nhat-Phi's cannonball from far outside the penalty area took Cheung Huel-sheng
totally by surprise. The home fans returned home slightly disappointed since Grilled Birds had deserved more than a draw. A pall was cast over the result as Zhi Aric
aggravated his knee injury, which will see him out of action for some weeks.