The Real Yuta
All eyes were on returnee Yuki Irie
, but it would be fellow Japanese-Singaporean Yuta Nakakita
who stole the limelight at The Cooking Pot, as he contributed a complete performance in the Birds' 6-2 win over Really McCoys. Together with Cyril Künzler
, Yuta recorded a brace against the yellow-clad Geylang visitors, who gamely went for an expansive approach with relatively little on the line.
Though they were thoroughly outplayed in their most recent away league matches against Changi Genius and newbies are newbies, Urbano Cazzani's multifaceted play down the right had done them a world of good against sealion, and this was clearly what McCoys were trying to replicate. It would however be Grilled's right winger who took the game by storm, and Cyril Künzler
's tidy exchange with Moey Xin Seng
in the seventh minute was sufficient to see them in front.
had never been known for goals - and indeed had not gotten more than one in a game for Grilled - but could realistically have bagged a hat-trick today. Granted, Künzler's corner made it about as straightforward as they came, but Italian goalkeeper Eduard Frani made a magnificent reflex stop off Yuta's bullet header. The box was packed, however, and Mohammad Ramli Saliman
ended getting there first, for 2-0.
The home fans were really getting into the mood now, and they serenaded the team with exploits of heroes from past and present, with Yuki Irie
getting special mention. Not that he had much to do, with all the action being deep in the McCoys half, and Neeraj Muthyala
was unfortunate to see an excellent drive brust the left post. McCoys had to take what few chances they had to remain in it, and this they did in the 30th minute, with Finnish skipper Jaani Vehmas doing right by Rain Lakspere's hard-won delivery.
Sensing that McCoys weren't about to be as easy a prey as they had though, Grilled upped the intensity, and Yuta Nakakita
gave them extra breathing room with a stiff strike in the 41st. The visitors were soon back, though, and young Scottish forward Colm Britton threw Hoàng Trung Quá
with a sharp turn, before stabbing another goal past Valentin Batâr
. The Romanian goalie appeared to be struggling with his hip, after his earlier contact with Vehmas, but Djan Bacelar
had decided against a substitution.
This wouldn't matter too much, as a long wake-up speech fired the Grilled players up for the second half, and another goal. It was born of a smothering team effort, that left the McCoys defence positively floundering in the later stages of the move. With options aplenty, Chu Xin Lee
took it upon himself to apply the final touch, which was just about good enough to beat Frani.
Things were looking down for McCoys, whose great hope Urbano Cazzani had been largely nullified by Florus Romijn
's speed of recovery. Although this meant that Romijn's own output had been curtailed, it remained that the trade-off was rather more beneficial for Grilled. Cazzani's fire remained undiminished, but he was fortunate simply to stay on, after a mistimed tackle on a ball-protecting Moey Xin Seng
The lengthy break after that incident cooled the game down significantly, a change of pace that was not discouraged by Bacelar; with the points more or less in the bag, and having just witnessed one of his key players nearly crocked, he was not particularly eager to take on more risks. To this end, Yuki Irie
would be taken off for Gene Filippone
with twenty minutes left, with him having made a quiet, if solid, re-debut.
Yuki would thus miss Grilled's fifth goal, awarded out of the blue by Polish referee Roman Zdziebko. There seemed to be nothing in it when Chu Xin Lee
had an overhit dribble claimed by Cambodian fullback Sopheap Som, but Zdziebko apparently spotted something. Som and the McCoys contingent were uniformly aghast, and Chu looked mostly clueless, but this left Cyril Künzler
with a job to do - which he did. 5-2.
It was then Islom Davlatov
's turn to try and get into the spotlight, as he aggressively imposed himself. Although he blasted a promising low cutback from Moey Xin Seng
wildly wide in the 77th, it didn't discourage him from pulling the trigger again the very next minute, to which Frani made a wondersave. The goalkeeper was once again let down by his defenders, though, and had to watch helplessly as Yuta Nakakita
scooped up the blocked ball on the run, before putting it into the unguarded net.
Yuta's newfound productivity in front of goal was something that the home fans could get used to, and they made it abundantly clear with their next improvised chant, which drew heavily from Hoàng's recent exploits. All of the involved seemed to enjoy it immensely, and Hoàng would cheekily try a lob from just over the half-way line in time added on, which came nowhere close.