Sticked In The Eye
Six Star Maleev
Syria might be in the throes of a civil war, but the only bombing that went on when second division FK STIKLAPETA visited The Cooking Pot would come from the red-shirted guests, and Bulgarian attacker Georgi Maleev in particular; Maleev found six goals against the Birds' experimental 4-5-1, as the reserve defenders utterly failed to make their case for more games going forward.
It certainly wasn't even close. A thunderbolt from new S$9 million signing Theo Leberecht in the eight minute would be overshadowed by Maleev's announcing himself in the 13th, after an overconfident Remco van der Ban
tried to dribble his way out of trouble. And it would only get worse.
As it went on, it was all Maleev, all the way, as the lanky Number 43 inserted himself into all facets of FK STIKLAPETA's play. None of Grilled's men quite managed to get a handle on him, as he proved well capable of floating to any position he fancied. Case in point, he was all but operating as a winger in the lead-in to Fady Deeb's goal, which was made when he centered it back to Stéphane Belmonte .
The last five minutes of the first half saw Maleev complete his hat-trick. A penalty was awarded after Rashid bin Ahmad
got sold short by Jérémy Tarin
, and Toomas Grauberg milked the contact for all it was worth. Grauberg again contributed two minutes later as he did all the hard work beating the defenders, and Maleev made sure to celebrate the sitter with his buddy.
Although Dan Seng
hadn't done too much wrong - and this after letting five goals in - he would be replaced by Krystian Rykowski
for the second half. Grilled got off the right foot, and were threatening with Moey Xin Seng
making all the right runs. Tarin nearly caught Vincent Pfahle unawares with a trick free-kick, but Andorran sweeper Ivan Guichard was watching, and blocked it midway.
Rykowski would fail on his first test, as FK STIKLAPETA wrested control back, and Maleev bore down on him after a clever exchange with Grauberg. The Polish goalie hesitated before deciding to close ground at exactly the wrong moment, leaving Maleev with an easy chip for 6-0.
Theo Leberecht made it seven with a stylish flick as Tarin and Moey left for Mohd Jafni Abdul Majid
and Pompeo Bellamoli
respectively, with Hoàng Trung Quá
taking the armband over from a downcast Moey, right on time for Maleev to burn him on the ground, before coolly slotting it past Rykowski.
Bellamoli would at least ensure that the Birds got something out of it, even if he knew little about Chu Xin Lee
's surprise pass catching him on the shin with three minutes remaining. Maleev wasn't done, though, and drilled a thirty-yard stunner through for his second hat-trick.