Wu Wins War
A double from the Warriors' veteran striker Wu Kang-yin secured ultimate victory, but Grilled will feel themselves hard done by as they were without Rotteveel for two-third of the match. Ciro Penati
was a revelation as he scampered about trying to win the match by himself, but ended up being sent off in the final minutes, and had to watch in despair as Kan-yin's winner hit the back of the net.
Grilled were on a high after thrashing GeoStarZ the previous weekend, but UWT were different customers altogether, and stole a march on the hosts with the tactical intelligence that has seen them outperform expectations this season. Anticipating a tight counterattacking game, they responded in kind, and this left tricky winger Hairil Zamri bin Moidony to burn Árva down the right flank as Grilled opened up. There still didn't appear to be much danger, but then Wu Kang-yin appeared from nowhere and sent a spinning special into the far corner.
Undaunted, Grilled assembled their troops and soon sped their way to the lead. Both goals came from blazing pace, with Quah Han Kok
turning on the afterburners and passing impressively while in full flight for Subri to place it beyond Afandi bin Zainal for the equaliser. The Warriors appeared unable to cope with Grilled's suddenly increased tempo, and Ciro Penati
was unstoppable as he jinked down the left to make it 2-1 with a cracking goal, already his third in the S-League this season.
Grilled were doing fine, and it seemed to be their day after Valdir managed to defuse a one-on-one situation with Bernd Knebelsberger, who went wide of the keeper only to experience Valdir's wingspan first-hand. This happy state of affairs was not to last, though, as Bai Ming-Foo chopped Rotteveel down in what admittedly was a fifty-fifty situation. The Dutch striker's trailing leg was gashed on impact, however, giving friendly hat-trick hero Mohd Firdaus a chance to make a name for himself.
After the formalities of booking Bai, the game went on, and American forward Gordon Rosado rubbed it in almost immediately with a goal of breathtaking simplicity. Lik-Tsun made the rare error of stepping in too early, and Rosado simply sidestepped the unconvincing tackle, then blasted it low past Valdir seconds later.
With two goals for either side in the bank, the clubs began playing more conservatively as time ticked away, knowing that a swift counter might put an end to their hopes. The clearest chance of the second half, which isn't saying much, was a half-decent cross by Penati that Firdaus managed to get on the end of. The substitute's directed header had Afandi scrambling across his goal, but the Warriors' goalie needn't have bothered, as it bounced wide by quite a margin.
Penati's workrate began to grow on the home fans, who cheered the little Italian disproportionately as he covered the right side of the pitch tirelessly. His will to win wasn't appreciated as much by the linesman, though, who flagged what appeared to be a dime-a-dozen bit of shirt-tugging as he battled for a loose ball with Siew Tian Chin. As if that wasn't enough, the referee jogged up and pulled out a yellow to show the disbelieving Penati to loud boos.
There were more shaky moments as the Warriors summoned one last charge, which led to Bernd Knebelsberger slamming a mighty right-footer at Valdir. It would have been a goal worthy of winning any game, but Valdir had the German's number on the day, and somehow palmed it to a defender.
A hard-fought draw was on the cards, when Subri got the chance to seal it for the Birds as he raced clear of the flat Warriors defence from Penati's through ball. The Cooking Pot erupted in celebration as Subri calmly rolled it past Afandi, only for the linesman to lift his flag after the ball had gone in. Penati was outraged, especially as it was the same official who had caused him his first yellow, and stormed towards him menacingly. He was stopped by a bevy of players from both sides, and after the inevitable second booking he had to be led off in tears.
Being down to ten men with just five minutes remaining was not an especially serious disadvantage, but the Warriors made full use of it as they swung a dangerous free-kick into the packed Grilled area. MacKinnon couldn't stop Habets from flicking it on at the top of his jump, and Kang-yin swooped in with a downwards header to steal all three points for his team.