|Season 55||W||6 - 4||Tournament (Group Phase)|
FC Allgäu Blaichach may have improved since their last head-to-head with Grilled Birds three seasons ago, but they were unfortunate in that the Birds had upped their game since then too. The end result was another ten-goal thriller, but one tilted yet more heavily in the direction of Grilled's three-pronged attack.
was again fielded in preference to Chow Ying Lee
, while Blaichach kept just three starters from the side that lost 6-4 then. Natives Cai Horst, Manuel Gacki and Henrico Thamm reprised their defensive roles, though Thamm was detailed to double up, together with Kay Grünwald, against the threat of Low Aik Jia
down their right side.
It was a prudent measure, but not one that worked out, as Low scampered through right from kick-off anyway. The tournament organizers were not quite prepared for that, and in the ensuing chaos, Low strung it through for Mohd Safri bin Mohd Kassim
, who dutifully skipped past a retreating Gacki to blast it straight past Horst.
That raid done with, Blaichach got a grip on themselves, and pulled together. Tian Yonghang
would get lucky with a wild volley from just outside the box in the 16th minute, but it was the opponents who looked as if they knew what they were doing, at this point. Current league leading scorer Hannes Lieres could have gotten one back in the 23rd minute following a silky counter, only to skew his approach.
They would not have a better opportunity than that in this half, and Mohd Safri duly punished lax defending from a corner kick, with his favourite flying header. Zhao Jing Wei
positioned himself well to tap the fourth in, and despite some self-sacrificial delaying from Marko Karlström, Grilled would enter the break five up through Rinor Isufi
's own headed attempt in the 35th.
There was no question about which team was going to advance by the time referee Whitfield Paige blew for the interval, and with both clubs mired in a hunt for league glory, the tempo was cranked down noticeably. Wong Ping Shun
again showed signs of the long campaign having taken its toll, but it didn't stop him from releasing Zhu Changchun
to score, as his shot came off Joerg Voderberg's shoulder block.
Low Aik Jia
then reminded the Grilled fans of why he has yet to become a regular, with a totally pointless trip on Lazar Bašić that landed him a yellow. That said, Zhao Jing Wei
made scarcely more sense with his messy tackle either, and it was left to Tian Yonghang
to get back to business with another stroke of fortune, as he smashed it into the box and saw Gacki deflect it past his own goalie.
Tian appeared almost apologetic at that, but he could well afford to, with the Birds seven goals to the good. Indeed, Grilled had no reason not to be generous, and Georgi Kolchakov's gritty advance down the left side was perhaps not as firmly stemmed as it could have been. Lee Lee Hao
's interception was poorly timed, leaving Joerg Voderberg to sidefoot home from ten yards.
Not content with a single consolation, Blaichach went for a second, and got it through Larry Weiske's neat finish. Rinor Isufi
wasn't about to be left out, though, and wrangled his brace largely through his own efforts, before Clark Won
made a fairly pedestrian five-minute cameo at the end.