Fire on the Grill
Grilled, who had led the league not that long ago, now find themselves looking up at almost every other team as FC RaZer Infernus proved just too powerful at their Coliseum d'Hauts Esprits. RaZer had been outstanding at home all season long, so it was more a case of not performing below expectations as they belted four past Harlow.
Grilled were the hungrier team at the start, as they harried the RaZer players at every turn and left several of them shaken through their close proximity. RaZer never managed to get into their flow in the early stages, and van Liere could have punished them with a bit of magic.
The Dutch winger made good progress towards the RaZer goal as no opponent was eager to pick him up, but he was still a good twenty-five metres out when he clipped a mighty lob with minimal backswing - and thus almost no warning. RaZer's Mak Jiao-Long could only stare as the ball brushed off his right post, missing by a hair's breadth.Asher Stanton
turned Grilled's constant harassment into a goal, as he jumped to block a clearance by Terje Dahl. The rebound favoured him as the nearby defenders were left looking for it in the air, and he pushed the ball in front and took a left-footed smash that crashed in despite Jiao-Long getting a gloved hand to it.
That lead was overturned by RaZer's stars, Mikey Willard and Heikki Leinonen, ten minutes before half time. Grilled were doing a decent job of keeping possession when national winger Gao Thanh-long intercepted a slow pass and steamrolled down his flank. His cross was rising and hard, but no problem at all for American striker Willard who bashed it right in with his forehead.
Leinonen went on the overlap straight from the kick-off, and was left with no defender before him since Jörgen Falkbo
was busy shadowing Thanh-long out wide. Leinonen's speed was enough to take him on to a one-on-one with an isolated Harlow, and the Finnish midfielder managed to get a chip off that went in at the near post.
More wing dominance by Thanh-long, helped by van Liere often going missing far upfield, translated into a flurry of second half chances, one of which young playmaker Weng Shen headed to the ground inside Grilled's goal just two minutes after the restart. Team captain Falkbo and Bona were seen pointing fingers at each other after that, which did nothing for Grilled's morale.
RaZer's Peter Patel cut his rising shot a bit too high, as his side monopolized the action. Spirig never slowed down on his flank, however, and compelled Shen Mun-Nee to take him down after losing him with a neat wrong-sided turn. Rottman pressed the ball down and made a quick free-kick, but Spirig's follow-up shot was really weak.
All hope was lost after Mikey Willard wove through the middle to deposit an unneeded fourth for RaZer, and Jan Langeland
's first yellow card of the season was just a manifestation of his frustration at not having a decent chance all game.