Be Champions FC hit the S-League trail with a massive 7-2 hit on the Birds today, with no end in sight to Grilled's post-season dip. The visitors impressed their dominance, if perhaps with a pinch of opportune happenings, in a breathless first forty-five minutes. The Birds attempted to storm back upon the restart, but were eventually outmuscled by their rather more-adept opponents.
Grilled had maintained a very admirable record against the former S-League winners, having won their last three league meetings against BCFC, but it would be their very strength that made this streak of note; few clubs can boast of having three midfielders on their national squad, and a monster run in the Supporter Week Trophy, where they were only put down in the quaterfinals on penalties by eventual world champions Feyenoord's Extreme Eleven, is testament to their all-round ability.
This has however caused some commentators to argue that BCFC had actually been underperforming in the previous few seasons, and there had been hearsay about a possible rift among club directors. There was scant sign of any of that as the white-shirted BCFC stars trudged onto The Cooking Pot's pitch, though, to face Grilled's returning men.
With Woon Shun An
still out of commission for this 900th league match for the Birds, Clark Won
would make his full debut, alongside Zhu Changchun
and Clément Meyer
. The Number 26 would however not taste much joy this time either, as BCFC soon signalled their determination to recapture the title at Grilled's expense.
The Birds had little reason to hold off as so many other clubs had, and Wong Ping Shun
would send a familiar sinking feeling down the spines of the visiting fans, with his outrageous volley attempt in the 12th minute. Grilled hadn't recovered their shape from that set-up when Feng Shifang darted around the outside, and he escaped a clumsy scything tackle from Low Aik Jia
to bulge Grilled's net.
With Low in the books for that, Grilled continued their hunt, but it simply wasn't going well for them against BCFC's flat four at the back. A younger Chow Ying Lee
might have fared better when Tian Yonghang
's slick pass came through in the 21st minute, but unlike what had happened so many times before, a combination of Dorin Bejan and Agasthya Vaidhyanathan shepherded this one out very comfortably.
Grilled weren't out of it by any means however, even when the tricky Zuberbühler gave Ling Fuquan
the slip with a neat step-and-spin in the 36th minute. It should, indeed, have been 2-1 at least when Chow Ying Lee
latched onto a moment of weakness by Vaidhyanathan, but to the great dismay of those in the stands, he didn't even make Edmundo Ortega work with his utterly tame grounder.
It would then be curtains for the Birds, as Arnold Pang and Feng Shifang sprang their traps in the remaining minutes of the half. The Grilled defence appeared to have gone half to sleep, which was exactly what they could not afford against players of that calibre. Zhu Changchun
for one looked almost disinterested when Feng blazed by him for BCFC's fourth, in a much-replayed clip that will surely earn the ire of supporters.
There was an unearthly silence in the awkward three minutes between that and Rubén Pascual's half-time whistle, and sections of the home fans even made a point to ironically applaud the disspirited players as they made their way off.
Grilled did start the second period much more brightly, and there was a definite fire in the players' eyes as they began to throw BCFC off their game. Clark Won
for one didn't seem to stop running for the first ten minutes, as he made it his personal mission to shut Feng down, and Low Aik Jia
gave the spectators some slight recompense with his reducer coming down the flank, blowing past Bennie van Wijk.
The Birds kept at it, and though the three-goal difference frankly felt too much to overturn, a couple more didn't look out of the question. Mohd Safri bin Mohd Kassim
threw himself at several crosses, only to land just short each time, and Ling Fuquan
would finally manage the feat in the 77th minute. Wong was again making room for himself down the right, and Ling would climb all over Bejan to reach that one. Ortega protested loudly, but to no avail.
BCFC would strike back in the most practical way possible, as they planted a knockout one-two-three this time. It would be the Birds' turn to rail at the injustice of it all, when video evidence showed that Zuberbühler had touched the ball - if barely - last before it went out, only for the linesman to point his flag at the corner. Of course, BCFC would score from that, Erkan Aydınel knocking Clément Meyer
aside as the duo went up for it.
The complaints had barely died down, when Zuberbühler took advantage of that distraction to strike again mercilessly. Feng would shake Won off with a razor-sharp one-two off Foo Ah De, and Gene Filippone
couldn't cover both Feng and Zuberbühler at once. To top it off, Vaidhyanathan would shake the ground with a jaw-dropping hammerblow from way outside as BCFC repelled the Birds' desperate all-out rush, making it 2-7.
Chow's precipitous drop in pace was evident to all as he chased another fine pass from Tian, as the Birds strove to regain some pride. Although he nearly made up for it with the accuracy in his shot, it nevertheless came off the post, which just about summed up Grilled's day.