relived his fondest memories of Division Two as he netted a brace to propel Grilled to what amazingly was their first opening day win in five long seasons. Grilled had undergone successive defeats by Chinablack, Shadow Chaser FC, FC GBR, FC RaZer Infernus and Hattrick all the time in the top two divisions, but that unsavoury record was cleansed this day.
Fine sunshine had lured over eighty-six thousand faithful to The Cooking Pot as Grilled met Orchard-based ChAmPzz, another record high in the Singaporean leagues this weekend. ChAmPzz, who had sold local midfielder Manzoor Azwira bin Hassan and first-choice keeper Florinas Istrate in the off-season, paraded new S$12.6 million custodian Per Ödahl behind a deep back four.
Two Grilled men made their league debuts, the consistently-improving Hidde van Liere
conspicuous by taking over the right-wing place that has been Dai-Lin's since Grilled's inception, and Jörgen Falkbo
where the transferred-out Johan Dewilde used to stand. Falkbo had a tame introduction to Singapore soccer though, as ChAmPzz's feared ex-Swedish U-20 player Kalle Hägerflod wasn't even on the bench. Jamie Mccullough was their lone striker, and he gave a good impersonation of an offensive midfielder most of the time.
ChAmPzz were out to strangle Grilled's game early, a tactic which they had tried against Ultimate NutsZ and Titus Titanium IV last season to little success. Grilled were never in any danger from their non-existent attack, and it was a matter of time before someone breached Ödahl's goal. Ödahl's saves put him amongst the top Division Two keepers, yet he couldn't keep Grilled out forever and Martinsson raced on Siu-Yue's reverse pass to become Grilled's first league scorer as well.
Paullin was mostly invisible on the left in contrast to his cutting edge during Wednesday's Cup game, and van Liere while impressive was shackled by the strong pairing of Ricky Hermansen and coach-captain Mattias Tullquist. Tullquist's equivalent on the Grilled side, Luis Alcántara
, might have led to a second as he was caught on the shins while supporting van Liere. From the free kick, Martinsson found Ödahl unprepared with a quickly-taken chip, but it came off the bar onto the line to groans from the stands.
Clear-cut opportunities were few and far between as ChAmPzz stuck to their guns, but their physical approach wore themselves down and van Liere found more room on his flank. A well-struck dipping cross whirled unblocked deep into the opposition six-yard box, where Ola Martinsson
converted at the far post.
Two minutes later, Martinsson went for the hat-trick on a two-on-two situation where Langeland had drawn a defender to him, and even though Per Ödahl was expecting it, he managed only the barest of touches on the blasted shot to deny Grilled's hero a perfect return to the Second Division.