Shock And Desolation
Grilled Birds' players were left drained, mud-splattered and totally downcast after the wholly unexpected 1-3 loss to total destruction, a disaster compounded by Asher Stanton
's fractured big toe which will see the promising 22 year-old creative midfielder out for a month. Grilled had named almost a junior side midfield, with Jon Andrea Rottman
and Au-Yong Siu-Yue
, both 19, expected to take on Zailizam bin Khairuddin and Mo Wah-Chiu in the center. Blockbuster youth signing Lorenz Paullin
was told to help out as he could as he was fielded as a midfielder for the first time in his competitive career. As a concession to the devalued midfield, Hang Bao-Tam
got the nod over Frank Öhmo
, but as it turned out it didn't help matters.
total destruction recognised the best chances out wide and Qiu Mao-You found the going easy against similarly attack-minded Milen Kolesov
on the same side. The lanky Qiu sought out the on-form Zailizam bin Khairuddin very early on, but Bao-Tam showed his pedigree with a save while spreadeagled. Asher Stanton
, who was given a berth on the side but ended up dictating the center in the early going, got cautioned as he tackled hard to cover his younger teammates. Au-Yong Siu-Yue
confirmed that Grilled's second generation was not yet ready to feature in big games when he froze at a whistle from the stands and almost let total destruction get a free goal.
Rough defending from Grilled's veteran backline prevented a rout when they denied two goals on the half-hour mark, as first Lan Tuan-Mu
did just enough to throw Zailizam bin Khairuddin off balance and then Dewilde forced striker Yang Duy wide to stop him getting a easy shot. Just when Grilled looked to have weathered the storm, Asher Stanton
collapsed theratically with no one within metres of him. Play actually continued until an assistant made out Stanton's contorted face in the rainstorm, and a stretcher was dispatched. On examination, it turned out that the Eurasian had broken the toe on his right foot after it got caught in a pothole and caused a bad slip. Bad luck loves company, and sure enough Grilled conceded a goal as Zhai Seung-Hwan finished off a chance with a great shot under such conditions. total destruction's leftback Chaturaanan Mohan also had go off right after the goal as he injured his shin, but he had nowhere near the influence Stanton had on the game and could hardly be seen as a fair trade.
The game was rough for much of the second half as the total destruction players saw their chance in holding off Grilled's players for a tremendous upset. Grilled's central trio, of average age 18, simply did not have the maturity required to respond, and Grilled were left backpedalling on total destruction's bold assaults. The home crowd went berserk when Lorenz Paullin
, clearly out of breath, felled Seung-Hwan right outside the penalty area. It was a hard decision to make, and the referee wavered before pointing to the spot. Designated kicker Yue Ying-hon mouthed a silent prayer before sending Bao-Tam the wrong way.Ulf Hjortlind
could barely contain his anger at the decision and threw Grilled a lifeline with a timely strike a minute later, as Grilled looked to salvage the situation. Hard-running Milen Kolesov
delivered a brilliant cross in the pelting rain, and Hjortlind summoned all his determination to pot Grilled's first goal in the swirling winds. The Grilled bench had hands over their hearts when Ola Martinsson
looked unstoppable as he bore down on goal in the 84th minute, but the equaliser never came as his tricky footwork failed on the muddy field, allowing the defenders to hack the ball away.
A minute later, winger Yue Ying-hon became the home team's hero when he converted a second penalty as he fell in a chaotic situation in the penalty area. The harsh ruling ruined Grilled's slender hope of a last gasp comeback, and the players were resigned to sitting out the rest of the Cup. The young midfielders were particularly affected, as Siu-Yue lay face down on grass for several minutes before Tuan-Mu coaxed him off.