Belgian sixth division Dé Amani's were battered by the visiting Birds side in more ways than one, as they ran out of substitutes by the 64th minute. Grilled certainly walked a tight line there, but probably came out the better for it, receiving only two bookings in what would eventually be a highly-charged friendly.
Neither team were accustomed to losing, with Amani's on a streak of eight games undefeated, and Grilled on nine. The hosts, while resting their defence, were not prepared to allow the Birds to have it too easy - prized youth internationals Daniel Żelazowski and Arnaud De Mey - acquired for nearly twenty million each - would feature, alongside key midfielder Armand Vanhove.
The Birds were not exactly slouches themselves in that department, but Amani's additional slice of class would tell. Fifteen minutes of slick short-passing later, Vanhove would create a hole right in front of the penalty area for Spanish centreback Carles Callau to run into. Callau needed no second invitation, and he spiralled a powerful strike past Batâr first-time.
Grilled had been working hard too, for all the attention lavished on Amani's, and they got their break four minutes later. Having not managed to advance anywhere close enough previously, sometime-opportunist Jérémy Tarin
decided to have a crack at it from thirty yards, after finding his options limited. He did much better than just test Alberto Sosa, as a minute deflection off a defender took the ball into the net.
Additionally, this Birds team appears to have adopted a slightly-cynical attitude when threatened, which manifested in a string of niggling fouls. This was encouraged by Swiss referee Gianpiero Tonielli being the hands-off sort. Ironically, there was no-one to blame when Bohdan Kurinec landed awkwardly, dislocating his shoulder, and a few minutes after his substitution, Kalki Parvathaneni
sped right through to give Grilled a 2-1 lead.
Juho-Antti Paakki's team had been criticised for too often running out of gas prematurely, and while this was something that Grilled had been accused of too, it was obvious that Amani's were worse afflicted. The Birds bringing fresh legs in the form of Rashid bin Ahmad
and Iman Eshrafi
in further tipped the balance, and although the home side continued edging possession, they just weren't as dangerous as before.
Eshrafi for one was determined to play hardball, and he would clatter Italian striker Ernesto Sestini in the 58th, forcing him off with a bloodied forehead. This earned Eshrafi the game's first card, and Mateusz Leśnikowski took over free-kick duties with a clever prod to Felipe Domingo, who curled it just over the bar.
The completely-beaten Valentin Batâr
was clearly relieved at that, but Amani's were not done. With their pedigreed midfield suddenly full of ideas, Grilled were quite overwhelmed at this juncture, and Jérémy Tarin
was forced to haul Amaël Houblon down. It was the same story as Houblon had to go off with a banged-up wrist, before the newly-arrived Vincenzo Celis narrowly put a header wide.
It wasn't pretty, but the Birds were gradually imposing themselves, to some disapproval from the home support. Finding that a more physical approach did in fact throw their opponents off, Grilled continued pressing it, and Islom Davlatov
earned a corner in the 77th with a judicious elbow to the small of Krizsán's back, as the Hungarian tried to keep it under control. And, to really rub it in, Neeraj Muthyala
climbed over him to score from the corner.
Amani's could barely muster a complaint before Kalki Parvathaneni
relied on honest pace to put Grilled three up, as he burnt De Mey, and then Carles Callau, scooting in from the left. The hosts did pull another back at least, with Leśnikowski barrelling it in, after some great work by Ali Morad Asayesh down the flank.