Spreading The Goals
The Birds continued building up into the final stretch, running up a 6-2 away victory over Red Chaos to keep on Ropelearner FC's tail. The hosts were better than their winless state in the league might have suggested, however, and they grabbed two goals for their loyal fans.
The travelling support weren't about to let Chaos forget the 9-0 hiding that Grilled had handed them in the reverse fixture, and there were minor scuffles in the stands that led to some troublemakers being ejected. Things calmed down by kickoff, and the Birds made three changes from the side that had taken Chaos on at The Cooking Pot - Florus Romijn
was fit to take left wing today, and Bilal Mohammad Harun
moved to defence, partnering Yuta Nakakita
. Behind him was Krystian Rykowski
instead of Dan Seng
, who himself stood in for Massoud Dob
Red Chaos didn't want for combativeness, but their ability to keep the ball was still at a premium. Grilled on the contrary acted with the assurance of a team that had won their last six in the league, and Cyril Künzler
would carve Chaos' right flank up with near impunity. One such raid in the eighth minute saw former national youth defender Kok Ze How torn between covering Künzler or Moey Xin Seng
, ultimately leaving the latter a simple sweep-in.
A moment of craziness followed as Giancarlo De Leonardis nearly scored on his own goal, with his natural instincts kicking in on a corner. Thankfully for the Red Chaos striker, that volley came back off the woodwork. The hosts clammed up after that scare, and the Birds would be limited to just the one direct free-kick attempt - narrowly high from Künzler - until the very end of the half.
Chaos had found defending quite to their liking, even if it severely stymied hopes of an equalizer, and Ow How Tze definitely didn't hold back on Romijn in the 42nd. Grilled fans were horrified to watch Romijn clutch at his just-recovered right leg again, and the Belgian winger would have to depart almost in tears. José Luiz Velho
came on right on time to watch his teammates exact some measure of revenge, with Yuta Nakakita
making to 2-0 after an ill-advised effort from Tan Chun Jun to play him offside.
Grilled had been somewhat lax in that first half, and Noubaryan apparently tightened them up during the break, and they came out seriously pressing Red Chaos back. Chaos' defence in depth had done them proud earlier, but would begin to show real cracks as the Birds mixed their passes with sudden pulling runs. Vikram Mudaliar
got through on one of those, and he avoided Kok's attentions for long enough to fire past Gioacchino Errico.
This third goal finally got Chaos to revert to their more natural attacking style, and judging from how De Leonardis and Mader came close, their fans might have been questioning why they didn't just do this from the beginning. The Birds obliged, resulting in an entertaining open game, and the hosts got one back in the 53rd minute. Star midfielder Abdul Wahab Mohd Muslim juggled expertly to throw Bilal off, before smashing it at Krystian Rykowski
- who might honestly have done better.
Chu Xin Lee
had been rather disappointing as Grilled's centre forward, a position no doubt conferred partly due to his hat-trick in the clubs' previous clash. That might have seen him singled out for special treatment by the Chaos team, who were however at sixes and sevens following a sneakily-worked free-kick. Gan Loong Han did good work guarding the right post to keep Islom Davlatov
from scoring, but that only delayed the goal for a few seconds as Chu then found a narrow opening.
Hoàng Trung Quá
was called upon to take over from Bilal Mohammad Harun
in the 75th minute, after the match was paused due to Kalki Parvathaneni
's argument over a foul going against him, which eventually cost him a yellow. There was a silver lining however as Red Chaos promptly lost possession anyway, and Grilled's flowing attack down the right would lead into a cheeky Davlatov chip over an embarassed Errico.
It wasn't over for Red Chaos yet, though, as they showed admirable defiance despite yet another doomed outing. Giancarlo for one never stopped moving, and would eventually cause Neeraj Muthyala
to be suspended for the next game, by forcing a rash sliding tackle out of the Grilled Number Four. Chaos then took their time setting up the free-kick, and they got their reward when Yeo Cheng Shun returned the poor clearance for a neat finish.
Grilled weren't done either, as it happened, and they would notch a sixth and final goal through current league leading scorer, Kalki Parvathaneni
. There would then be another scary moment, as substitute José Luiz Velho
had to leave too, after hurting his left foot in a physical scramble. Prokop Mottl
would take over without much incident, as the Birds saw the remaining minutes out calmly.