German defender Marcus Liehner
got his first professional hat-trick at 33 years of age, but if it became the only one he would ever make, his 14th, 18th and 19th minute strikes would still be more than most fullbacks can hope for in a career. A fourth in the second half only made his astonishing feat all the sweeter.
Division Five leaders Singapore All Star were on a six-game roll, and were more than willing to brawl it out with Grilled with a very positive 3-4-3. The visitors however took no chances on their side and recalled Siu-Yue and Kek-Tjiang to bolster the young midfield from the sides. Star's right flank was extremely porous with their midfield being skewed towards the other side, and after eleven minutes Wai-Kin beat his lone marker and scored.
Liehner got his first goal for nearly a full season, as he and Alcántara felt confident staying near the halfway line with the opponents in defensive disarray. Actually he had little business waiting out so far up front, but Siu-Yue did not discriminate and sent a snap pass his way for Liehner to force into goal.
Hjortlind wowed the crowd with an outlandish flying kick to put the third past bin Osman, but it was simply Liehner's day as he dribbled through the middle with the panache of a teenaged striker. Even considering that Star's defence could have been much better, it was still something from the veteran defender.
Such was it that when Grilled won a penalty after Poon Jun Lai instinctively raised his hand to stop an incoming shot, Liehner was ferried to the spot by his comrades. With his maiden hat-trick looming on the line, Liehner closed his eyes, took a hesistant first step and blasted towards the bottom left. bin Osman was on his way towards that corner, but the ball was a metre higher than a conventional kick and flew in over the goalie.
The celebrations lasted a full minute, and after that Grilled sat pretty on their five goal lead. The home fans urged their heroes on, and their strike trio managed several long shots on target that Abed-Sulaiman caught handily.
Liehner was detailed to take the second penalty in the 66th minute as well, this time after Hjortlind had been walled off by two defenders in the six-yard box, with the ball some distance out of their range. Feeling cheeky this time, he succeeded in tapping a soft ball in at the right post as the keeper again leaped to his left.
Borup was liable for a colossal mix-up when he ran halfway to a long clearance, then changed his mind not realising he was the last man. Belgian youngster Binoth Hoppus took a free shot as Abed-Sulaiman was also caught unprepared, but did not get it on target unfortunately for the home faithful.
Liehner threatened a fiver as he squeaked a bender over the Star's four-man wall, but it never fell fast enough to make it in below the crossbar. Bona's previous warning proved spot-on as Kamarulzaman bin Abu indeed powered in a goal for the hosts with three minutes to go, courtesy of a great back-header from Mohd Amran. Of course, the game was set by then.
Wai-Kin clearly wasn't happy with his singleton, and somehow managed to eke out a last-minute hat-trick for himself in injury time, with his fitness far superior to the exhausted defence. Not that they had too much incentive to prevent it, as they were out of it really.