Gotta Get My Glasses
Hat-tricks are not exactly in short supply in the fast-paced world of Hattrick soccer, but a 31 year-old player-coach at rightback bagging one is still a small wonder. Yes, the match report wasn't garbled in transmission - it really was Luis Alcántara
notching the first threebagger of his long career.
Grilled exhibited a prospenity to raise their game for bigger opposition, and indeed raced off to a two-goal lead within eleven minutes. Asher Stanton
, rotated back into the middle, made a case for staying put with a great offensive tackle to dispossess a lingering defender before nabbing a solo goal to start things.Ola Martinsson
has found it increasingly hard to put them in from distance lately, as he did everything right with a dipping free-kick to the far side of goal. German goalie Niklas Akam was quick as lightning to it, though, getting a fingertip to the ball and redirecting it onto the crossbar.Hidde van Liere
broke clear a bit later and held the ball up thoughtfully as he waited for the NutsZ box to be filled. Pulling away from the two men on him, he angled in a rising cross that could have ended up with anyone at all. As fate would have it, Alcántara was unmarked at the far post and gleefully profited with a light header. It was his first goal the whole season for the Number Three and only his seventh for Grilled.
A nasty bit of work by Jan Langeland
led to central defender Joaquín Carreras Serra being out for a month. They went up for a high ball, but Langeland's forward momentum coupled with an energetic header fractured Serra's cheekbone. The referee didn't spot the incident, but Grilled stopped play upon learning the extent of the injury. Japanese Taichiro Tokaji replaced Serra.
Martinsson then shook the woodwork for the second time from a lobbed pass from van Liere, and then Ultimate NutsZ ex-international Gerrit Willems cleverly inched his way past his marker to receive a quick one-two. One-two it now was, as Willems gave Harlow no chance with a passionate drive.
The score stayed that way for most of the second half, but the last fifteen minutes were frantic as Grilled found their second wind. Stanton hit the bar in a duel with Akam, then Alcántara showed him how to finish when he intercepted a weak crossfield pass with his head and then chipped out-of-position Akam neatly.
Some semblance of order was restored with Martinsson got third time lucky with a skilful dribble around Kuldar Golomb, laying the ball over a covering Akam right from the kick-off. NutsZ cancelled that one out with Willems' second of the day, after a superb piece of teamwork between him and young Zaydman on the right. They still had a mountain to climb, though.
Many fans were bewildered as Alcántara used his captaincy to swop Shen back to defend and Langeland to the outside in the final minutes, but he was proven wise as van Liere picked him out just outside the box. Quickly advancing, he found Tokaji, already on a yellow, caught in two minds whether to commit to a saving tackle, and slid the last few metres to complete a very improbable hat-trick.