The densely-packed stadium was buzzing in anticipation of Grilled doing a quick double over Singapore's most-decorated club, Herron, but instead saw the home team kicked off the pitch by their rough-house tactics. With two of their best players off before the break, it was an uphill task for Grilled to ever mount a response.
Grilled featured Quah Han Kok
on the right flank, a questionable choice since the young midfielder had played for his country barely two days ago. Indeed he was not in peak form, and was harassed into losing the ball a couple of times. Herron went directly for the Grilled goal when they had the ball, and Eriksson had a good flyer saved by Abed-Sulaiman.
The tide was beginning to turn as the partisan crowd got behind their team, then horror - Gert-Marijn Vogels' trailing boot caught Siu-Yue's knee, and left the Singaporean midfielder painfully hobbled. Siu-Yue wanted to continue, but could not move faster than a brisk walk, which forced Alcántara to throw Paullin on.
Sensing that Paullin was still raw, Herron threw themselves on the offensive. Paullin seemed unsure of his role, and stood uncomprehendingly when Bona was taken to the cleaners by Shu Chit-Fu's acceleration. It was a classic speedmonger's goal as the ex-international burst a foot ahead of the defender and never let up until he had pushed the ball under Abed-Sulaiman and into goal.
Double whammy followed, as Arngrim Schreinerbauers plowed past Han Kok on the left and played Florian Jähnisch through simply. Again, Bona raced to recover but couldn't reach the striker before he had thumped a precise grounder in at an enraged Abed-Sulaiman's far post. The Egyptian keeper had every right to be angry since he was exposed badly only minutes ago, when Othman bin Ib Berahim was left free to shoot into the side-netting.
Grilled were left reeling but not without a measure of hope, since they were still fluid and were at home. They didn't count on the visitors crippling another key player, though. Chit-Fu was the villian this time round, as he delivered a typical striker's tackle - that is to say, a terrible one - to Martinsson's knees while helping out in defence.
The bench was up in arms before Martinsson even hit the floor, since Chit-Fu was obviously two seconds late and went in high. The referee obligingly took out his book, but to uniform disbelief selected the yellow card. That was scant consolation to Martinsson, who was totally out of commission and had to be carried off in a stretcher.
Only 35 minutes gone, and Grilled were incurably diminished. Hjortlind made his return to the S-League two seasons after he provided that famous assist for Dewilde to score the winner against Team Singapore, but he had no such opportunity this time, and communicated poorly with Wai-Kin.
Chit-Fu forced Abed-Sulaiman into a stunning save with a snappy diving header after the restart, then Grilled saw some respite to the bonecrunching challenges when Dutch defender Vogels finally got his deserved marching orders. He had escaped notice for several bad challenges throughout the game, but was found out when he nudged van Liere in the back when the winger had gone past him.
Grilled piled up in numbers, but Herron stuck to their positions defensively, and the home side found it very hard to cleave through bereft of Siu-Yue's attacking instincts. Wai-Kin still showed signs of not fully settling in, as his first touch generally let him down and cost Grilled some promising moves.
Kek-Tjiang had a golden opportunity to haul Grilled back into it, as he charged unopposed into the now weakened Herron defensive line and let loose an absolute screamer that the eye found hard to follow. Had it been any other but Singapore's national goalie Abd Rauf Mohd Nadzir between the posts, Kek-Tjiang would probably have been credited with a goal.
Grilled's goal did come in the 84th minute as Hjortlind bent a strange-looking corner that no-one got to, and actually even bounced twice before Fabian Bona
moved in at the far post and headed it inside the post. Hopes of a draw were swiftly crushed when Eriksson sneaked through the over-extended Grilled defence with perfect timing and slid home Herron's third goal, sadly for the brave home side.