In Complete Control
The debuting Bilal Mohammad Harun
slotted in like he had always been with Grilled Birds, as the team romped to a 7-2 win over Division Two opponents Controlar at Olympic Lyons Park. Islom Davlatov
too merited special mention, as they formed a formidable tandem that swept all before it.
This is not to downplay Controlar, who entered the arena having been unbeaten in their previous seven fixtures, since their 0-6 loss to league rivals ArSenal U21 in the main cup. The impressive run included a memorable two-all draw against FC Barca Singapore, in which Turkish striker Derya Kozak starred, before having to come off with a serious injury to his ankle.
It was a rather less blinged-up XI that started against the Birds, though, with Spanish head coach Jorge Alberto Ferreres not shy about sticking to his league focus. Still, the 4-5-1 he put out was tailored towards sensibly stifling Grilled's attack, while leaving the possibility of surgical strikes. That was exactly what happened in the 14th minute, with lone Italian forward Franco Mazzoli getting the better of Yuki Irie
on an opportunistic punt, before striking it decisively past Dan Seng
Having gotten what they wanted, Controlar made to hunker down, but things would go rather less smoothly for them after that. Truth was, Grilled were looking quite sprightly before the opener, and the players knew that they would come good eventually. It didn't take that long either, as Islom Davlatov
found himself in an excellent position to shoot in the 24th, after cunningly shaking off Yeoh Meng Nie; Controlar skipper Piotr Kolberg dived courageously at his feet, but not fast enough.
The Birds would be 3-1 up just eight minutes later, with Neeraj Muthyala
first soaring high to head home from a weakly-contested corner. Grilled were in full flow by then, and Florus Romijn
added the next with an acrobatic take that should assure fans of his complete recovery. Controlar's young winger Rene Khong did very well to beat Romijn and then Yuki all by himself later in the half, but his finish left much to be desired.
That lapse didn't help confidence in the clearly-struggling Yuki Irie
, and he was duly subbed off for Hoàng Trung Quá
for the second half. The bulk of the game continued to be played out at the other end, that said, and Romijn gave Rene Khong a bit of his own back in the 53rd minute, blazing past him with a clean feint. A neat give-and-go with Bilal later, and Romijn had his second goal.
Controlar barely hung on through Venkat Dugyala's nicely-timed push on the left, but Grilled were barely fazed as they continued tightening the screws. Their supporters were naturally also in the mood, and they received the goal that they had been requesting 70 minutes in, as Bilal Mohammad Harun
came through from the right side. Much had been made of the new Number Six's potency in the air, but he proved no less deadly with his left foot, pegging it strongly past Kolberg for his fifteenth career goal.
Grilled were not done yet, and Chan Ze Han
's pragmatic dimension would earn them a penalty in the very next minute. The dependable Cyril Künzler
converted it without much ado, and Moey Xin Seng
would then put it to bed with a classic poach against Controlar's discouraged defence.