In Lala Land
Grilled's dalliance with giving juniors a taste of big game action continued not to do much for their self-confidence, as they were whipper 0-10 by Colombian third division side La Academia11. LA11, who had further picked up the Copa Cocuy Rubí national trophy a few seasons back, were simply superior where it mattered, and local captain Gustavo Kecán led by example with a quality hat-trick from left midfield.
The rotation saw José Luiz Velho
try out the right wing in a holding role, with a fast-improving Florus Romijn
stationed on the left. Otherwise, it was largely a reserve lineup, save for Mohammad Ramli Saliman
and Islom Davlatov
up top... where they would be largely isolated. LA11's straightforward tack of steering it directly through the middle was soon obvious, but nevertheless unstoppable by the Birds' youngsters; Kecán and striker Florencio Usuriaga more or less ran right through for the first two, all before the 20th minute.
They weren't taking it easy on Grilled either, and David Leonardo Güayazán roughed Velho up a bit more than the situation warranted, as they tussled for the ball on the touchline. Iman Eshrafi
was having none of that, but thankfully for Grilled, cooler heads prevailed, and Belgian referee Jos Langeraet eventually settled the matter by mandating a forced handshake, and then a yellow for Güayazán almost as an afterthought.
Güayazán's tenacity would see him claim a third for LA11 after flirting with another booking in swooping on Hoàng Trung Quá
, although his challenge turned out much cleaner that time. 37 minutes in, Carlos Gustavo Batistuta completed the scoring for the half, as they again punched through Grilled's soft middle.
With there being no doubt as to how the fixture was going to turn out, player-coach José David Moreña was liberal with his substitutions for LA11, springing the trio of Matteo Provasi, Wolf Kreuzer and Luis Alfredo Morales on. If the Birds were hopeful that Florencio Usuriaga's leaving would make it easier on them, though, Alzamendi turned out to be more potent if anything, and almost immediately created an opening for Gustavo Kecán to score from.
The hat-trick would arrive in the 57th minute, as LA11 played their single tactic to near-perfection. Chirag Thevar
had been doing his absolute best, but it remained that he was hardly a natural midfielder, and he was again given the runaround by Morales after some woeful positioning. Kecán was the target for the outlet pass, and he took it very close to Krystian Rykowski
, before slipping it beneath the long-suffering goalie for 6-0.
Rykowski was put out of his misery after Kreuzer made a horribly-bloody impact with his thigh in the 78th minute, but LA11 were still without mercy, and subjected replacement Dan Seng
to a barrage of shots. Then again, Seng could probably have taken more initiative against Juan Manuel Bonano, intercepting before he could bring it down, but he instead elected to stand his ground. Bonano then chested it away from Jérémy Tarin
, and finished with verve.
The last two goals would arrive from sharp poaching by Federico Armando Alzamendi, though LA11 would finish a man down, as the combustible Alfredo Espejo reacted badly to Mohammad Ramli Saliman
's flashy moves in the dying minutes.