Dare Devils' ten-game winning streak was brutally snapped by a beefed-up Grilled second team, courtesy of a classic Ulf Hjortlind
hat-trick and some good eyes for goal by the young Swiss. Some coincidental background had been writted into this matchup, as Grilled had just put down the Devils' main league rivals Northern United in the last round, and they had in turn downed FLESIANS UTD and L3gend, whose owners are acquaintances of Grilleds', in previous Cup encounters.
Devils spread out for an open game unlike Northern, with high scorers Choon-Hwee and Beng-Yew shoring up their strike force. Midfield was another story as Swiss import Thierry Arnaud had a woeful day, effectively tilting the game against his team. Rottman knocked the opener in as he advanced from his laid-back position onto a short cutback by surprise inclusion Ma Dai-Lin
. The veteran lent Grilled the cutting edge that they, however, did not miss in their last few Cup contests. The Devils proved a worthy challenge to the grizzled veteran, and it took a clever switch of flanks for Paullin to skip loose. Dai-Lin's return ball was placed well, and Paullin easily beat the exposed goalkeeper.
Grilled played to their strengths and wisely directed their advances through the sprightly Dai-Lin. Dai-Lin recorded a third assist when he passed square to Hjortlind, who one-touched it into the net. Bad news was to come, as Arnaud went in two-footed on Martinsson. Martinsson was taken in the side of his calves, and had to be carried off. Langeland trod in, and got into the thick of things by heading on a Rottman lob for Aznan Noor Yadah
to crash home.
A frightful run of bad luck and incompetence hit Grilled in the second half, as Fabian Bona
overextended himself in a challenge and allowed Beng-Yew to rush past. Harlow compensated with superb acceleration off the goalline, smothering the loose ball. Beng-Yew, with eleven goals so far this season, had another try in minutes, but sent the ball into orbit. At the other end, Jan Langeland
fumbled with a sitter and finally lifted it high over Malaysian goalie Nor Zeland bin Md Tahar.
Langeland must have took that embarrassing miss badly as he plowed into Devils' sweeper Richard Boll artlessly. The referee was right in cautioning him, a decision which will see him out of consideration for Grilled's home match against Team Singapore later in the week.
Grilled do not have far to look for his replacement, as Ulf turned on the fire, crafting a goal by himself in the 78th minute with aggressive direct dribbling. As if that weren't enough, Hjortlind stole an eleventh career hat-trick at the death after Aznan Noor Yadah
failed to connect with Paullin's searching cross in the last minute. A nudge on a defender may cast doubt on the legitimacy of the goal, but the referee's whistle was for the end of the game after Hjortlind tucked it into the bottom corner.