FC Pires' slim hopes of surviving were diminished to practically none this morning, after they were crushed 1-10 by Grilled at Piro Dome. A laudable overextertion in the first ten minutes gave their supporters cause for dreaming, but a couple of big decisions by referee Ville Peurala turned the match Grilled's way - permanently.
After seven defeats in a row, and their only goals in that sad string having come in a single match against Ropelearner FC, few gave FC Pires any chance of accomplishing anything against the Birds. Worse, there may be friction appearing between their main forward Ang Tze Lee and the club, with rumours of a mismatch between their respective ambitions.
It began better than most dared expect, despite the inauspicious odds. Ang would give Yuta Nakakita
the run-around very early on, as the home team made up for a lack of craft, with unimpeachable workrate. Grilled were made to look like tourists at times, as veteran rightback Wan Arif Khairil rallied his teammates to push Grilled hard.
There were few indications that FC Pires were giving out, and things could have gotten interesting, had Grilled not taken a perhaps undeserved lead. Farid Sofian gathered the ball to himself after he looked to have been barged down by Moey Xin Seng
just inside his own area, but Peurala didn't see it that way, and pointed right to the spot. The decision held over FC Pires' strident protests, and Cyril Künzler
put it straight down the middle with Jackson Truong committing too quickly.
The home team remained winning handily on fighting spirit, and the perceived injustice only served to empower them; a madcap advance from the restart saw the Birds' organization reduced to tatters, and the ball got to the entirely ignored Aiman Kamarul Asmawi Azmi on the right flank. Lee Woon Kum was in turn abandoned by Hoàng Trung Quá
, and a spin and a strike saw Piro Dome explode with pent-up relief.
The riotous goal celebrations had hardly died down, though, when FC Pires found themselves on the wrong end of another call. The Birds were resorting to rough play in the face of the hosts' activity, and somehow won an indirect free-kick, when it looked as if Islom Davlatov
had manhandled an opponent player instead. It was delivered wide, then instantly reversed, and Vikram Mudaliar
arrived by arrangement to restore Grilled's lead.
Peurala had to endure a barrage of questions from Khairil after that, before FC Pires continued with their breathless pressing. Unfortunately for them, their linking up with Ang was far too predictable, and the match was a virtual stalemate until Islom Davlatov
forced a great stop out of Truong in the 34th. The Uzbek sure wasn't shy about throwing his weight around, which got him booked a while later.
2-1 would have been a fine spot for FC Pires to build something from, but it was not to be. A soft corner was helped on to Mudaliar by Hoàng with four minutes remaining, one thing led to another, and the overextension as FC Pires mounted a rescue operation allowed Yuta Nakakita
to extend Grilled's advantage. To cap it all, Ang Tze Lee was then booked for trying to delay a free-kick, which Islom Davlatov
then scored from as recipient anyway.
It was a familiar situation for the home fans, who had again been promised much, but given little. They put a brave face on it as their players tried to lift themselves for the second half, but there was no disguising the lack of belief now creeping into their play.
Grilled, who had evidently been lectured on their initial poor effort, would instead take over, as they began imposing themselves in midfield. Plotting measured passes, they would lure FC Pires into trying too hard to win it back, and Chan Ze Han
pounced after Wong Wee Kok made an ill-advised attempt to chase Chu Xin Lee
down in the 54th minute.
Two more goals followed in quick succession after Chan's breakthrough, with Islom Davlatov
and Cyril Künzler
beating Troung with admirable takes from outside the penalty area, with the Pole's lob quite the work of art. There was a brief disturbance in the gallery at this, with someone setting a flare off in defiance; Hovaness Noubaryan
was happy to brief his team and put Yuki Irie
on in the meantime.
With there being no question about how this would end, the only ones left fixated on the proceedings were probably punters who had a stake in the number of goals. On this end, Chan Ze Han
would pull smartly away to add another in the 63rd, before Vikram Mudaliar
closed with his first hat-trick for the Birds, off a lovely bicycle kick.