Jon Leaves It Late
Grilled eked out a third 1-0 win in four league matches, as they adopted an Italian-style ultra-defensive approach keyed towards shutting down the league's leading goalscorer Bill Howard. Freed at last of Cup commitments, Alcántara named nearly all his stars in the first eleven, with only Langeland staying on the bench.
Control was the name of Grilled's game, as they were preoccupied with not leaving any loose ends after the loss to Team Singapore. Stanton had an indifferent game on the left wing, but the rest were pure class and had two-thirds of the possession. Unfortunately it was achieved by patient, unadventurous build-up play.
Cantik FC had a comprehensive foursome at the back, skippered by club hero Wan Cheng-Gong. Three of their four defenders came up the youth ranks together, and even the fourth, Johan Herbrant, had been at the club for seven seasons. It showed as attacking midfielders van Liere and Rottman were routinely unable to make any headway.
Cantik had come off an excellent 4-0 showing against Ampang FC, but too had no recourse against Grilled's stifling defence. Gustav Ovesson picked up a silly booking for speaking out against a teammate's messy tackle on Au-Yong Siu-Yue
. At least that woke the game from its perpetual slumber. Alcántara was seen running up to have a word with Rottman, who then took up position beside a relieved Martinsson.
Rottman appeared a natural in the hole just behind the main striker, as he almost scored with a dipping half-volley off van Liere's deep cross. Cantik custodian Gerfried Schreiber, however, leaned back and stopped the shot from just fifteen yards out.
Cantik themselves pushed the envelope with a super-long clearance after Martinsson's long range try had been blocked, and central defender Kau Chan-Van collected the contested header and sprinted all the way to Harlow. Harlow saved his defenders the blushes with a reaction dive to stop Chan-Van's slightly awkward strike.
Johan Herbrant of Cantik went to the sidelines for a while to get a spray for a leg problem, but stayed on. On hindsight, fresher legs would have done better against a resurgent van Liere, whose dribble created another shooting opportunity for Rottman. With six minutes on the clock, Rottman made no mistake this time as he hit an unstoppable beauty.