Endings Across Board
insisted on the squad acknowledging the home crowd - who remained positive, all considered - after the whistle, before conceding the title race in the press conference afterwards.
"It's probably obvious, but I've got to say it anyway." the Brazilian head coach added. "It hurts alright, but maybe slightly less, seeing as how it was going from slim to none."
Vice-captain Yuki Irie
chose to confront the reality of the matter. "We would be in a load of trouble if we somehow made it up, frankly. The team is currently still in the midst of a skill development period, and doesn't have the stamina edge for a sustained challenge."
Defeat was, then, probably more painful for the Farmer Bunnies, who in losing once more to Kim Tae Hee FC had their own hopes officially extinguished. It was always going to be a difficult contest, and Sikong Darong
likely hoped to give his side a surprise edge with the selection of Liderhan Kadyr
as lone striker.
It hardly went as hoped at a Carrot Field burgeoning with eighty thousand paying customers, though, with Dino Miceli making no mistake from a rare lapse in the 14th. Lau Chang Wan
then poked it wide from five yards, spurning what looked a sure equaliser, before Kadyr limped off with a thigh strain. To add to that, Aiyub Mohd Khawarizmi made it 2-0 from a collision between Benson and Mohd Jafni.
did spark hope with a delightful free-kick seven minutes after the restart, but Kim Tae Hee FC were otherwise able to shut the match down, and thereby claim the title barring some incredible occurances.
Grilled International didn't break the mould either, as they were defeated 3-1 by league leaders roccoeisuoifratelli. Italian poacher Leonardo Corazzari struck twice before László Kammer
was able to force a corner in, and although Alessandro De Rosa was sent off for a second yellow with five minutes remaining, it was far too late for that to matter.
It was then perhaps also appropriate that a number of young trainees chose to announcement their departure from the professional scene today, with Bunnies winger Khoo Kang Lai and International defender Ong Tze Kum - one of the Busy Bees' first graduates - deciding to make a clean break.
The 18 year-olds admitted that they would have continued had their clubs agreed to extend their apprentice contracts, particularly Ong, who had already endured rejection from Bruneian third division club ehc. In the end, however, practical considerations took precedence.
"It's back to trade school, I guess." said Ong, who had been training to be a welder before going full-time on the backup squad with International.