Art Of Scoring
Grimau Gets Off
The friendly circuit didn't do much for Grilled's record as they went five games without victory, though they didn't quite earn it against Lucasperruno Andorra Team either. The Division Three club hassled their visitors through and through as the Birds were poor where it mattered most, perhaps exemplified in the person of Mohammad Ramli Saliman
towards the end.
Lucasperruno were in need of a pick-me-up too, having been whitewashed in their last two matches themselves; their focal point was, of course, 20 year-old prodigy and national youth goalkeeper Xavi Gustà, who made a swift return from a groin injury sustained against Mongolia last Friday. For outfield matters, the gruff Octavi Rossa took charge, and made it a point to throw his considerable weight around whenever opportunity presented itself.
The Birds switched it up with Vikram Mudaliar
and Chan Ze Han
starting in midfield, and it sure looked like the cross-training was doing them good. Mudaliar was booked in the 17th minute for a typical forward's tackle on Martí Mitjana, which was followed very soon by Albert Grimau's brutal elbow into Jérémy Tarin
. Referee Dorel Mihai had a long chat with Grimau to ascertain that it wasn't a retaliatory measure, which probably saved the apologetic striker a sending-off.
Tarin took a while to recover his breath, but Lucasperruno weren't letting up, and the poor Swiss defender next found himself laid into by Octavi Rossa. To add insult to injury, Grimau would then score with him receiving treatment on the sidelines, as Dani Serret punished sloppy communication on the free-kick, intercepting and putting in an early cross from wide left.
Grilled were still undecided on whether to continue on a man down, when they were hit again. Rashid bin Ahmad
showed his age against the far more sprightly Paramon Bondar, who for once faced down a senior, being 39 years old himself. Neeraj Muthyala
would regret tracking Rossa instead, as Rashid proved helpless against Bondar's loping strides - two-nil.
The Birds ended the half with only Islom Davlatov
's cheeky test of Gustà in the 21st minute to their name, and although José Luiz Velho
came in for Prokop Mottl
during the break, the Brazilian wasn't much of an improvement on the right. Velho too got sucked into keeping tabs on Serret, and contributed little in attack.
The hosts made their own sub in the 55th minute, with Alexandre Coadic in for Bondar, who could definitely leave with his head held high. It was harder to say that for most of the Grilled men, but Krystian Rykowski
would deserve some praise for his 68th minute save from Viv Decker. He had no right to get to the winger's gliding stroke to the bottom corner, but somehow managed the feat by a hair's breadth.
Chan Ze Han
kept his head about him and plotted several nice combinations from deep, but none of them went beyond the first couple of passes. Lucasperruno weren't in any hurry, and Rossa dragged out his exit, as 19 year-old Enric Pegueroles was given his chance in left mid.
Grilled did finally get the breakthrough they had sought, as Gustà was beaten in the 74th minute by Chu Xin Lee
's premature take of a cross intended for Davlatov. The ball appeared to have gone beyond Chu's reach, but he threw his heel up behind him in an instinctive - and genius, as it turned out - reaction.
Szymon Skałecki would cancel it out shortly after with a romp through the middle, however, before taking Rykowski out with a practised pull-up. With nothing to lose, Grilled made a double substitution, with Leong Wan Kang
and Mohammad Ramli Saliman
coming in. The latter would almost score on his first touch, as he read Vikram Mudaliar
's sprint perfectly, but the through pass had just a bit too much on it.
would threaten in the next minute, but that attack was ultimately turned back on Grilled, with Viv Decker catching them short on the counter. Mohammad Ramli Saliman
exhibited his best side as he bamboozled the weary Lucasperruno backline for the remaining few minutes, but never quite found the killer instinct to match his slick technique.