Troubled Quipersss were put to the sword at The Cooking Pot by a Grilled team raring to prove their worth, comping off a succession of cup failures. There was never much concern about the visitors doing the same, conveniently for the Birds, and Polish wing star Cyril Künzler
would reap a career-first hat-trick, en route to a thumping 8-0 final result.
It was the second time Quipersss' base had founded a club, with their previous one reaching the third division too, but administrative disagreements would once more wrack their organization. Already limping badly, their recent entry into administration could not have done much for morale, but their plucky band of local recruits were set on putting up a show.
Low Siong Chao, a well-known face in the neighbourhood scene, would put together a spirited team huddle before kick-off, but the underdogs would be callously reminded that solidarity alone only went so far. Mohammad Ramli Saliman
would narrowly slice the opener past Jacob Fu from the left after just four minutes, which would be a fair preview of the remainder of the day.
Quipersss would turn it into slightly more of a contest after Hoàng Trung Quá
made it 2-0 in the 13th minute off his own rebound, but it would take Lim Ah Eng turning into an auxiliary defender. Part-time rightback Pang Tong Fu won a measure of sympathy from the spectators, when he slid groin-first into the goalposts covering for his goalie, and the referee couldn't let the game continue, after witnessing the aftermath.
A gingerly-conducted inspection by the medic had Pang good to go, to much applause from the stands. There were even some good-natured catcalls by the home supporters, as Florus Romijn
meaningfully pointed his runs towards the still-wincing Pang, but these turned into cheers when Cyril Künzler
pounced on one of the ensuing crosses.
Half-time saw Grilled five goals up, Uzbek forward Islom Davlatov
marking his league debut with a nice run-and-gun in the 42nd minute. Moey Xin Seng
tumbled dramatically in the penalty area on the next move, and Künzler rammed it hard and accurately from the spot.
There was absolutely no question how this was going to end, but then again, one could reasonably have said that from the fifth minute. In fact, the Grilled fans were relaxed enough to acknowledge the visitors' largely-doomed efforts, with Sibiharan Vadde frequently fêted for his never-give-up attitude in trying to corral Künzler in.
The gap in skill was far too wide to be filled by heart alone, and the Birds further supplemented it with some small cunning in the 61st minute, with a meticulously-planned free-kick, rolled short for Saliman to apply the final touch. Getting into the mood, even Neeraj Muthyala
began to unleash from outside his usual range, and came close from a winding pop from distance.
would then come up with the consensus goal of the game, as he exploded with a showstopping dribble down the middle, blazing past no less than five men in his zigzagging advance on goal. Kevin Stevens was the last to be brushed off by one last burst from Romijn, and the Belgian then left Jacob Fu gasping with a clean strike into his top left corner.
There were some unintended consequences here, as Valentin Batâr
strained a thigh, celebrating with a cartwheel. Not only that, he went unnoticed by his teammates, who had without exception run off to mob Romijn, and the match nearly restarted with him still waving frantically on the grass. Fortunately, the Grilled bench had managed to get the attention of the linesman by then.
Quipersss were by all indications happy to have a break too, and there was some informal mingling going on as Batâr had his leg looked at. Grilled would tone it down somewhat, but there would be one more goal, as Cyril Künzler
recorded the first hat-trick of his career, with a neat toepoke tucked between Fu's feet, with twelve minutes left.