|Season 21||L||7 - 0||Qualification|
Into The Inferno
If there was any silver lining to FC RaZer Infernus beating Grilled 4-2, it was that the gap between the teams had perceptibly closed in the single season since RaZer brushed them aside 7-0 in embarrassing fashion. The man of the day was RaZer's old reliable Anders Anderhall, subject of two multi-million transfers and living up to his billing.
Grilled were paranoid about allowing an early goal, shadowing their opposite numbers with such intensity that they looked like a bunch of overeager schoolboys. As the minutes ticked by and it was clear that that early breakthrough was not forthcoming, Grilled discarded their defensive shell and tenatively probed at RaZer. RaZer's midfield represented the cream of Singapore's future, with current U-20 nationals Xiao Wen-miin and Zou Tsu-Yee and their senior Weng Shen grouped together.
Grilled's own local trio were not cowed, though, having some years of experience on their rivals. This more or less balanced the two teams in this department, as they delivered some mouthwatering matchups while the rest of the game was outsourced to foreign talent. Martinsson teased his fans with a ferocious shot as he abandoned his usual guile when taking a 20th minute free kick, and even when it was slowed as it passed through the defensive wall, Mak Jiao-Long, one of Singapore football's hottest goalkeeping prospects, found it a chore to handle.
A Grilled opener seemed more than likely when Martinsson exploited the blind side the next minute, setting up a duel against Jiao-Long. The keeper, a S$16 million buy from Singaporean side mist for the new season, once again won out with his split-second reaction. Martinsson had some measure of satisfaction as he drilled in the resulting corner, one that Johan Dewilde
After that historic first S-League goal, Ola Martinsson
got one more chance as Noor Yadah went to ground in front of the penalty area. This time he reverted to a more conventional curler, but again he was left in anguish as his shot beat Jiao-Long - but cleared the crossbar by inches. Swedish counterpart Anders Anderhall had no such problems pertaining to his scoring boots, and needed just a hint of being off-balance by Dewilde to press the advantage and drive past the defender. Harlow prepared to come out but Anderhall smartly read the angles and released his shot very early, allowing Harlow nowhere near the ball.
Grilled retained a marginal advantage in the middle, all credit to Kek-Tjiang tireless organisation. His coverage allowed Ju-Hau and Stanton to go forward without undue worry, and they worked together for Hjortlind to profit as he swept in a goal from inside the six-yard box. Soon, Weng Shen, capped nine times for the National Junior Team, looked to have put something out of joint as he took his time to recover from a tackle. A goal up at half-time, things looked rosy for Grilled.
Feelings of good cheer disappeared two minutes into the second half, as the hithero reliable defence allowed loyal RaZer winger Tse Hyun-Shik through on the right. Dewilde was again the culprit, and Hyun-Shik punished his slackness to the fullest extent by threading a cross over to Anderhall who tucked it away.
Grilled were always in with a shout as they appeared to match RaZer in midfield, until all that came to an end in the 59th minute. Zhan Ju-Hau
was jostling for position during a Grilled corner when he knocked into a teammate. That in itself was a minor irritant for the beefy midfielder, but his face met someone's elbow on the way down and necessitated a substitution with Rottman called to take over. The 20 year-old Swiss is one to look out for, but he was somewhat lacking in comparism to the rest of the centrehalves and immediately picked on as the chink in Grilled's armour.
Rottman had the chance to make himself a hero in the 70th minute, as Jiao-Long inexplicably fumbled a simple cross. Rottman, who had a better than even chance of scrambling the loose ball in, stood transfixed and a great opportunity passed. The departure of Ju-Hau caused Grilled to hold themselves back, giving tempo away to the opposition. RaZer seemed to have their own midfield woes as Zou Tsu-Yee spent some time on the ground, but he managed to continue the game. Two minutes later, Anderhall completed a remarkable hat-trick as he drew upon his reserves of speed to outpace all and sundry on the side of the pitch. No-one could catch him before he had lobbed the hapless Harlow to perfection. Since the wet grass should have curtailed his pace, his heroics must have given other teams something to think about.
Grilled turned to Martinsson, but the Swede was under Canadian defender Peter Patel's special attention and could not escape. RaZer then put their name on the three points with a cameo by Swedish Serb Milenko Jovanovic.