"Well, that's that." a tired Moey Xin Seng
commented as he trudged off. "It wasn't enough."
With the loss, Grilled slip behind both -Blitz- and newbies are newbies, who smashed Red Chaos 3-0 themselves. Barring some big slip-up, it is now difficult to see the Birds challenging for promotion.
"It's bad, but we're not out of it yet." a more optimistic Hovaness Noubaryan
demurred. "First, we need to win next week against newbies. Then... it's up to ArSenal U21 to assist. They've held -Blitz- before, perhaps they can do it again?"
Given that one can hardly imagine an easier run-in for the new leaders after that, however, most supporters remained unconvinced. "Same as last season, wait for next season." one wit wrote.
Farmer Bunnies suffered the same fate as their attack was again exposed by Soon Soon, who prevailed through Michel Daniel Boute's 68th minute header. Sikong Darong
went with Enzo Paolo Panzarino
for the first 65 minutes, before replacing him with Ibrahim Zahran Al-Maashany
. Neither would do well.
Panzarino perhaps came closest by forcing Aw Jing Kum into a reaction stop early in the second half, but that and their industry on the wings wasn't enough to prevent their first league defeat of the campaign. Sikong would be roundly criticized for his stubbornness after the game, but the head coach insisted that he had a plan.
In the end, it may be only Grilled International who go up, as they brooked no resistance with an authoritative 3-1 over third-placed Benfica 1904. Alberto Afonso Teixeira Mota put the visitors ahead against the run of play, but Micky bin Kadir
answered instantly. Second-half strikes from Ragib Banović
and Soo Kiong Yau
(pen) then sealed the deal.
Victory at King Shaka International Hattrick Temple will essentially guarantee promotion for G.I., and the players are definitely looking forward to their test in South Africa. "Up, up, up!" Tajit bin Mohd