Birds Taught Lesson By Marlboro
Grilled Birds today were outclassed by Division 3 team Marlboro Reds at their home ground, Smoke Valley. Coach Qi Haupai
played an almost full strength side, the only oddity being defender Kau Siu-Cheung
, who in his early career played as a forward, reprising that role in the absence of the injured Tim Hobson
Grilled did give the Reds an early scare when new signing Daniel Tellskär
hit a rising shot to the top corner of the goal with almost his first touch of the game, only for Hong-Tae to pull off a stupendous save. Marlboro were shaken out of their early lethargy by that attempt and had Grilled on the back foot for the rest of the game. Especially towards the end of the first half, Grilled players seemed unsure of their new 3-5-2 formation as they kept making mistimed runs and sometimes tried to cover the same area.
There was noticeable improvement in the second half, with Ong Tan and Lan Tuan-Mu
quite faultless in the further three goals conceded, but Xing Hua
, who came in for Koo Chin-shu, was overworked and often beaten for pace as his midfield comrades were more interested in going forward than helping out at the back. Sole was game in his role as a substitute defender, but despite his endurance he was too often let down by his defensive naivety.
Bertolin got his first start as goalkeeper since his transfer, and will not be happy to have let in seven, though there was not too much he could have done with most of those goals. At least Siu-Cheung demonstrated that he had not forsaken his striking aspirations, and acquitted himself quite well beside Chiew-Yen, and looked dangerous the few times he actually got the ball.
Haupai will not be pleased however with the loss of two players in a friendly game, with both Chin-shu and Sun-Nee done in by hard challenges. While Chin-shu will not be missed that badly, Sun-Nee's injury leaves Grilled with just three functioning defenders.