|Season 51||W||3 - 4||Tournament (Group Phase)|
Birds Killed This Time
Mohd bin Yusoff Did It
Grilled's push for a first SG Super Cup crown went begging yet again, as Random Curiosity FC avenged their defeat in the last edition by smashing five past the Birds in a 5-3 semifinal victory. Grilled were never completely out of it, but for all their firepower were too inept at the back to slip through.
All eyes were on French striker Antoine Bos, who beat Dan Seng
twice in that meeting, but that would be overlooking a host of excellent players, in particular left attacker Danilo De Sario and former youth prodigy Ang Tse Jian. Faced with that, however, Nicula Stanca opted in the end to go with the 2-5-3 instead of adding an extra man at the back, and as it ended up Curiosity were better at going toe-to-toe.
With the opponents in attacking mode too, it was a question of when the goals would come, and the spectators only had to wait seven minutes for the first. Bos showed another side to his nippy self by floating a corner kick right to Mohd bin Yusoff, who gave Edmund Kryus
no chance whatsoever with an inch-perfect flat header.
While both defences never looked steady, Curiosity's Paris Lidorikis was at least unbeatable in the air, and one opportunity after another fell their way - Haji bin Omar would probably have put it in had he another few metres to slow down, while Bos himself swung a bender around Kryus, only for Ling Fuquan
to save his keeper's bacon that time with an acrobatic goal-line clearance.
That ended up as Grilled's equaliser at the other end, as Woon Shun An
did well to keep the ball in, and Mohd Safri bin Mohd Kassim
played on as the Curiosity players appealed fruitlessly for a throw-in. Spanish captain Daniel Pla did well to hold Mohd Safri up for a few seconds, but the 36 year-old veteran was ultimately no match for the striker in his prime in a one-on-one footrace.
Curiosity didn't take long to restore their lead, as Haji bin Omar pushed the ball forward and chased it, after latching onto a through pass. Qassem Madaini
was a little slow in turning, and that gave the speedy winger all the opening that he needed, which he topped off with a solid low drive.
Mohd bin Yusoff then got a second as a red-faced Madaini committed the cardinal sin of turning into his blind spot, which was an open invitation to have the ball nicked off his feet. Jef Demarcke went one better by spotting Mohd bin Yusoff's takeoff, and Edmund Kryus
didn't even come close to covering the midfielder's towering header.
It was not all lost yet for the Birds, and they showed admirable spirit at the restart to sow confusion among the Curiosity defenders. The free-flowing assault went right through the middle, but Lin Dongcai managed to fist Zhu Changchun
's effort aside. Unfortunately for him, Woon was on hand to mop up.
Curiosity had finished the first half ahead on goals, but there was a sense that Grilled were catching up. However, they didn't carry their momentum through, and after a short period of dominance saw their cutting edge blunted with lu Zunwen
beginning to struggle, and Abdul bin Jantan
constrained by a yellow card.
Bos then tipped a wonderful volley in to make it 2-4, and Grilled were sinking. They did have one last trump card, and pass after pass went to new star turn Tian Yonghang
. The breakout forward disappointed with a tame shot after dancing his way past two defenders in the 73rd minute, but seemed to have prepared a thrilling finale when he sprung the offside trap to reduce with seven minutes remaining.
It was Curiosity's turn to feel the heat as Haji bin Omar had to retire to the sidelines to be treated for heatstroke, and Woon Shun An
looked to have tied things up when he arrowed through on the right side. As fate would have it, however, his strike came off the post, and Curiosity ended the contest on the counter through Eng Soon Lee.