Wrong End Of Goalfest
Craioveanu Lights Up
Hattrick all the time handed Grilled's behinds to them on a platter, breaching Sulaiman's goal half a dozen times, but a Martinsson-less attack soothed the pain slightly with a sharp Hjortlind double. Neutrals would have salivated over the game, which saw scintillating offensive prowness by HaTT in the second half.
It all began so brightly for the visitors, as they ably held off the expected home barrage for the early minutes. HaTT had converted to a 3-5-2 but had so far enjoyed no luck as they lost their opening two matches, but served notice that the Birds were in for a grilling with plenty of movement in the final third.
Big Finnish midfielder Jakob Taipale did his best with a smashing header off a corner, as Falkbo strained in vain to elevate; it seemed to take a bounce off the defender and skimmed inches over the bar, but the deflection was slight enough that none of the officials saw it, and thus ordered a goal kick.
HaTT, goalless since Taipale stunned Herron in the second minute on opening day, were sucker-punched by third-choice striker Ulf Hjortlind
after a full-blown attack gone awry. Tuan-Mu hit a desperation clearance more than anything, but HaTT only had Ben Mohammed back in that area of the pitch and he lost out to Hjortlind's savvy positioning. The gleeful Swedish forward then avoided Ben Mohammed's flailing tackle and went on to knock it past Eric Alley.
Grilled recognized good fortune on sight, and battered down the hatches as they concentrated in their own half. Han Kok, a surprise inclusion as Siu-Yue suffered an injury recurrence in morning training, worked his way round the middle of the park industriously. He must have had a lot of unused energy, saved up from the bench as an unused substitute against Belgium in the U-20 international friendly on Friday night.
HaTT had far more confidence in front of their expectant home fans, notwithstanding poor recent results, and continued slugging it out. Young Romanian striker Visarion Craioveanu was in a rich vein of form as he threatened Sulaiman with a close shave minutes after Hjortlind's goal, then got the real deal as he split the centerbacks down the middle and bundled it in.
Seeing their lead evaporate, Grilled were even more hesitant about venturing up, and van Liere obviously felt shortchanged by his teammates' preference for the lateral pass. HaTT comparatively were only too eager to go directly for Grilled's penalty area, and only a hard lunge from Spirig, which earned him a yellow card, prevented their forwards from having a free run at goal near the half-hour mark.
The dam broke in the 68th minute, however. Grilled had settled for a deadlock, but once ex-Hungarian national teamer Árpád Donát finessed home an impressive Carl Kerry cross, their organization was shot to bits. Even Kek-Tjiang was at a loss as Strassburger dribbled around three men on his way to an entry on his career highlight reel. Only old-timer Tuan-Mu kept a level head as he dispossessed Kerry very smartly once, but that was only a lull in the storm.
It appeared a 3-1 loss for Grilled as the game wound down, but HaTT incredibly doubled down through 87th and 90th minute goals from an incandescent Craioveanu, who completed his hat-trick, either side of a soft Erik Magnusson goal. Hjortlind got in the last word as he chipped Alley, who had actually crossed the halfway line to watch the slaughter, and Grilled awaited the final restart, surely a formality.
As it happened, Grilled lost more than another game, as no one had noticed Hidde van Liere
crumpled in a heap by the sidelines in the general and well-founded excitement. Video replays showed that the winger had backed into the business end of an opponent's elbow during the last counter-attack, and was bleeding profusely from the face. Paullin ended up going in for his fellow midfielder, just so Grilled would have eleven men at the final whistle.