Chan Rings Bells
The Birds got the lift they so badly needed against Spanish Hattrick International club Aranyes Eslovaques, whose well-rounded but ultimately pedestrian side fell to a hungry Grilled strikeforce. The Division Six leaders should have made more of a contest of it by all rights, but Jorge Suárez and his fellow midfielders never figured out the transition to attack.
Thus Eslovaques, who had won their last seven competitive games, floundered. Without evident weaknesses, but with no particular strengths either, they could not keep Grilled from imposing upon them by brute offensive will. There wasn't too much that was pretty about how Grilled busted their way forward in the fifth minute, at least up until Moey Xin Seng
's deceptively-nuanced chip that had the young Imanol Guzmán failing to recover.
The opener established, Grilled kept their engine revving. Vikram Mudaliar
, who seemed much happier leading the line, would challenge Richi Fuentecilla in a straight race 14 minutes in, and got enough of a lead to be able to pick his inbound assist target deliberately. Chan Ze Han
was that fellow, and he slid in for the second goal.
There were close misses for Velho and Moey as Fuentecilla had to sacrifice a yellow just to try and keep the Birds in check, but the long-suffering centreback was again wholly cut out when Chan Ze Han
strode through to add another on the half-hour. Two minutes later, Mudaliar would get past Fuentecilla with him leery of getting sent off, and Iago Porcel Aguirre's support was in vain as Grilled went 4-0 up.
The visitors' yellow-and-blue stripes were mostly drenched by half-time, despite the mild - by Singapore standards - weather, a testament to their hard work. This didn't say much for their effectiveness, however, as was exemplified when Pedro Vara's diligent tracking back was wasted by poor communication, soon after the restart. José Luiz Velho
could hardly believe his luck as both defenders backed off with him in the corner, and his cross would be crashed in by a flying Kalki Parvathaneni
English referee Hank Love allowed himself a moment of mercy, when he awarded a penalty while holding off dismissing Fuentecilla for a clear foul in the box right after that. Jérémy Tarin
hit it to the left and Guzmán guessed correctly, but Tarin's loss wound up to be Chan Ze Han
's gain, as the young star was on it to complete his hat-trick.
Argider Senis was trying to beef up his midfield by now, and he did at least get Iman Eshrafi
into trouble with his rough-and-tumble style. Eshrafi would be booked for arguing the non-existent call for that incident, as Senis sensibly made himself scarce.
A seventh and last goal would arrive after Remco van der Ban
came on in the 70th minute, as Chan looked to improve his day further with a dizzying run along the edge of the area. Moey seemed odds-on to score, but he would overrun the pass, leaving Vikram Mudaliar
to do the honours as part of the second wave.