Krys In Mid
The Birds apparently enjoyed Cuba from their visit earlier in the season that they returned for another, with third division side Havana Parrots FC playing hosts this time. Ulises Delgado had just guided them to a third-place finish in their first year of existence, though they evidently hadn't been facing opposition as stiff as Grilled, who didn't let up in a 6-0 whupping.
To be fair to the Parrots, this was essentially a first-team lineup for the Birds, who immediately seized control against the Parrots' ambitious 3-4-3. French skipper Christopher Estienne had evidently decided that the best defence was a good offence, but the reality was rather less optimistic. He had the ball nicked trying to squeeze past Florus Romijn
in the ninth minute, and a couple of crisp passes later, Chu Xin Lee
had it in the back of the net.
This left-sided combination was absolutely tearing Parrots' defence apart, with Grilled interchanging with a fluidity that was so often missing in competition. Romijn launched himself into a high-risk, high-reward over-the-head hook in the 16th minute, hitting the target, and it would be 3-0 just a few minutes later as Chu tapped in from a badly-tracked indirect free. Goalkeeper Armando Semeco lost his temper at this point, loudly berating his unreliable backline.
That did seem to motivate his teammates, who began to put up more of a semblance of protecting their goalie. Nelson Ferrebús however didn't judge distances well when he got booked for a high leg in the 29th minute, and deservingly so, judging by the cut on Iman Eshrafi
's eyebrow. The initial free was laid off to and smashed by Romijn onto Nelson Ferrebús' hand, and Cyril Künzler
drew Semeco to dive the wrong way for the penalty.
The Parrots hadn't yet given up, and were if anything roused to blood and thunder, with their tough backers only too willing to whistle them on. Young Bulgarian forward Yasen Dobrenov certainly wasn't discouraged from taking Moey Xin Seng
down in the 37th, which led to Moey being replaced by... Krystian Rykowski
It was hard to read Hovaness Noubaryan
's intentions behind putting his reserve goalie in midfield, but more than a few in the crowd definitely interpreted it as a slight. The irony, however, was that Rykowski turned out to be actually quite good, or at any rate good enough to muck it up in the centre of the park. And, as Ahillész Szilágyi would discover more than once, an amateur outfielder was often harder to read.
Eight minutes into the second half, the Birds would go five-nil up. Things hadn't improved much for Luis Andrade on Havana Parrots' right, as he found himself again being sold out by questionable decisions from his comrades. Florus Romijn
had the luxury of time when he dribbled to the corner flag on one such attack, and the Belgian then went and cut ten yards back, before feeding Yuta Nakakita
to ram it home at the near post.
Romijn capped a Man-of-the-Match performance by chipping Andrade in the 61st minute, which was shortly afterwards followed by the home team's best chance of the game. Szilágyi flighted a magnificent free-kick at the top corner, but Massoud Dob
would live up to his promise on this occasion, hurtling straight over to palm it out; he definitely wanted his clean sheet there, from his exultant reaction post-save.
Hoàng Trung Quá
would be replaced in the 80th minute, to the relief of Diego Alejandro Segura, who had been effectively corralled by the Vietnamese throughout. He wouldn't find much joy with Yuki Irie
either, sad to say, and Yuki would even come within a whisker of making it seven, after Romijn recovered from his yellow card to try for one last assist late on.