In the top West derby in Singapore, Grilled Birds overcame extreme power's home ground advantage to sweep through 4-1 close to flawlessly. Three goals in the middle of the first half buried an extreme side that had drawn FC RaZer Infernus and beaten Ultimate NutsZ in their previous league games.
The Dead Arena has a reputation for being one of the most feared grounds this end of the island, and it was filled close to capacity as Grilled supporters thronged the eastern end. From the kickoff, it was apparent that extreme had left a hole in their left defence, as leftback Tom Karlsson drifted into the middle, venturing wide only when pressed. His winger Mohamad Feriza bin Ib Berahim exhibited similar tendencies, and the wily Ma Dai-Lin
needed no invitation. He owned the right flank completely, and from one of his raids he stepped around a slow tackle and homed the ball into the six-yard box, for Martinsson to touch it into goal off Spanish keeper David Ondorica.
Fired-up defender Johan Dewilde
, finding his second calling as a forward, should have made a few strikers red with envy when he exhibited etheral balance in sweeping the ball into goal from a melee at the corner of the penalty area, his third goal in four league matches! extreme's fans were struggling to find words when Au-Yong Siu-Yue
twisted the dagger in two minutes later. With Dai-Lin splitting the recalcitrant extreme backline again, the 20 year-old slipped in around the heavily-shadowed strikers and dashed onto Dai-Lin's astute pass. A practised flick of the instep did the rest.
extreme power started from scratch as they realigned their defence. The left wing that was the root of their woe reduced the deficit when Mohamad Feriza loped upfield and swung in a chest-high ball that Claes Månsson slid in. Despite boasting a far more symmetrical threat, extreme just didn't have it in them to bang in the goals, their best chance coming in the 37th when midfielder Joel Stighult body-faked his way to an uncontested cross but didn't control the height of his shot.
extreme began the second half demoralised, and Ulf Hjortlind
blossomed in the attacking mood. He spurned his fair share of chances, including a stinger that grazed the top of the bar in the 55th minute. Grilled had a rather flukish fourth goal courtesy of Thai sweeper Nui Pakpao
, who had replaced Tuan-Mu in his central defensive role. His venture into the endzone reeked of irresponsibility in a still-open game, even if he got to another of those interesting cut-backs by Dai-Lin. Pakpao's volley almost looked like an afterthought, but the mechanics were just right for the ball to find its way into the net.
extreme continued chasing the game, but the subdued stands indicated that few saw a reversal on the cards. Captain Edward Veth made a good example of himself with some creative ball work that had Pakpao sweating, but the Dutch player wasn't able to trigger a breakthrough. Stocky English midfielder Stu Davis should have won his team a consolation, but Tuan-Mu stopped even that by keeping watch at the post and blocking Davis' power-packed effort.
With the win, Grilled finally move atop the West rankings after six seasons in the Hattrick leagues.