Bob's The Name
Lang's The Game
Austrian fifth division club Bob Marley United prevented Grilled from tasting victory in that country in a sanctioned friendly for a third time, as they held out to prevail by the lone goal. Scorer Andreas Lang was easily the cream of the crop, at least after strike mate Enrico Giovinazzo went off with a minor thigh concern.
A weekend draw against Sc Howodo had seen them drop slightly off the pace in an extremely-competitive V.205, with the top four teams within a point of each other. The Birds would face off against these regulars, other than a reserve five-man backline. Islom Davlatov
returned from suspension at left wing, while Krystian Rykowski
started in goal, with Hovaness Noubaryan
understandably wary of throwing Massoud Dob
into this fray.
The hosts' Argentine midfielder Juan María Pietrasanta was bold but entirely outnumbered in the middle, though Marley were also well-prepared to invite Grilled to attack. 36 year-old Leong Wan Kang
led the line but not very well, and perhaps only Kalki Parvathaneni
showed any real signs of life, against Marley's suffocating play.
Grilled clearly required an extra push, and it came from the unlikely person of Jérémy Tarin
. That said, Davlatov had begun to grow into the match, and his gamble on a run to the back in the 27th minute actually did come off, as Tarin spun wildly before releasing a defence-piercing pass. Davlatov caught the ball slightly off-centre, sadly, and swished it inches wide.
That attempt did encourage the Birds, and Leong would contribute some seven minutes later, as he waited for contact by the inexperienced Roman Kopp. Referee Julien Vallée gave the penalty after a lengthy consultation with his linesman, but Ukrainian Number One Luboslav Cheberyachko dove the right way to deny Tarin.
The Birds weren't exactly gelling, but appeared to get an unearned boost when Chong Tse Chu
clattered Giovinazzo. This saw the shaken skipper go off for trainee forward Erwin Hoffer. Cheberyachko had barely tugged on the armband when he had to make a stop from Chan Ze Han
's solid grounder, coming after some confident exchanges in the Marley penalty area.
It would however be the hosts who would go ahead, as they swept upfield in strength on the recoil. Irish winger Jason Boland took it most of the way, helped by a defensively-suspect Davlatov abandoning his duties. Hoffer was eager to make an immediate name for himself, but Mudaliar's speed allowed him to nick ahead... only to leave it for Lang to leave Rykowski no chance with a peach to the top corner.
There wouldn't be long before half-time came around, which saw Prokop Mottl
on for the virtually anonymous Velho. As with Hoffer, the Czech substitute nearly emphasized his entrance with a bang, only to be denied by a stiff block from a defender. Again as before, the ball went to a teammate, but unfortunately Leong's poor effort could not be compared to Lang's in the slightest.
With Marley in full-fledged boot-it-out mode, Grilled were making next to no headway, and it was Pietrasanta who was tearing it up against his Birds' unmotivated-seeming counterparts instead. Hoffer might well have gotten a goal had he been more alert, but it's a trait that he probably has time to cultivate.
would replace Chong, who had actually had a fair outing, in the 65th minute, but the Swiss defender showed his age when Richard Stepan simply ran around him to narrowly miss from a volley. Grilled's third and final substitution would be Kohei Okuya
for Leong with five minutes remaining, but it was by then far too late for any appreciable impact to be had.