First Off The Blocks
Grilled have, if just for a week, attained the apex of Singaporean soccer.
A goal-difference of +5 and three of three points put them above the likes of FC RaZer Infernus, Herron and Team Singapore, as Grilled affirmed the doubts hanging over Geylang Eagles United's unduly meager wage bill for the top division. Their quality was seen everywhere but midfield, which was to be their downfall.
Ever quick to advance, Geylang boasted three local forwards who could walk into just about any club here. Hein Spruijt and Nataniel Garzón in the middle were not exactly of that high calibre, and recent youth squad player Thean Nai-Thim was totally overawed. Geylang didn't even name any subs interestingly, not that any were needed.
Twelve minutes gone, and The Cooking Pot was a picture of joy in the home stands as Jan Langeland
revealed the true extent of his abilities. Geylang actually had Grilled pressed back in the early minutes, with even Grilled's wingers helping out with the marking. Alcántara sent the ball down the line to buy time, but lo and behold Langeland came in from the outside to indulge in a straightforward race to goal, which he won.
The lead was double-sized in quick order, though Langeland only had to stoop at his waist then in response to van Liere's hanging cross. S$8.6 million-rated Dutch custodian Paul Hoogervorst did great to divert the initial ball, but then both Rottman and Ranen fell in a heap over each other for it to pass to Langeland, who flicked it on almost apologetically.
Martinsson troubled Hoogervorst with a powerful leaping header, and the resultant corner almost revived the Eagles as Cassen belied his defender status with a sparkling breaking run. The all-or-nothing counterattack spluttered sadly when Cassen slid a final ball through to Swedish sweeper Henrik Ranen, who was just a step shy of a probable goal.
They might have immediate cause to regret the miss, for Martinsson combined well with Paullin on the left flank to open up a twenty-metre lob that Hoogervorst watched soar over both his head and the net. Cassen was rather unhappy with van Liere's cheeky tricks, and told him that to his face with emphasis within earshot of the referee, who had to card him.
The Eagles had Grilled's supporters worried as talisman Luo Ser-Kiat was a cut above Bona on this day, and shot narrowly wide a couple of times. Bona however could thumb his nose at the illustrious striker later on, as he made full use of his well-built frame to keep challengers away while he nodded in only his fifth league goal for Grilled.
The restart went disastrously for Geylang, as a calculated direct ball was taken over by Falkbo who was more than happy to let van Liere do more running. Not meeting direct opposition, van Liere had an easy pass to Martinsson, who in turn had his legs taken from below him by Hoogervorst. Martinsson of course claimed the penalty, and sent a hard, high rocket right down the middle to score.
Four-nil equalled Grilled's standing S-League largest win, two seasons ago against Bluedragon, when coincidentally Bona scored too. Langeland had waited long enough to better it, and after Martinsson's overwhelming drive was blocked out by Hoogervorst and hacked away, Kek-Tjiang's return was good enough for Langeland to celebrate the end of a long league scoring drought with fittingly his first league hat-trick.