Shan Banged Up
Parvathaneni On Point
Grilled might have bested Bangladeshi Premier League team, and current Ruby Challenger Cup holders Hertha Bangladesh SC 5-0 in their midweek friendly, but it came at the cost of another goalkeeper lost. Club veteran Shan Orien
had bravely volunteered for the mission with both Massoud Dob
and Dan Seng
held up in Singaporean hospital beds, but he lasted all of half an hour, before the reaper came for him.
Hertha head coach Elias Antunes Moreira was only too frank about undertaking a rebuild, having just sold off iconic national playmaker Mohammad Hossain for S$15.6 million to Belgium's SuparSporting, but the fans are willing to wait if the crowd response was anything to go by. Grilled couldn't escape the rain despite decamping over four thousand kilometres north, but at least the hosts weren't enjoying it any better either.
From how Moreira named himself at right forward, Hertha weren't putting too much into this one, and their few bright moments came from ambitious French winger Mickaël Sylvestre on the other flank. The first serious chance came in the 21st minute, only for Neeraj Muthyala
to comically slip in tandem after a relieved Obiuto Gbian. They saw the funny side of that, and it was left to Chan Ze Han
to draw Adam Mikulski's first real save, about eight minutes later.
And then the tragedy. There was nothing much in the aimless tip up in the air for Shan Orien
, who was definitely going to get it, trained goalkeeper or not. He hadn't counted on Jamil Wahla bursting his way, however, and the Birds' worst fears were realised, when Wahla landed heavily on Shan's left foot. From how the Hertha striker went white-faced, it was obvious that something very, very bad had happened.
Out came the stretcher and oxygen mask, and one wouldn't really have faulted the teams for calling what was turning out to be an utterly pointless friendly off after that. Referee Kazem Kordi eventually restarted it after confirming with both parties however, and there wasn't much defending on Hertha's part as José Luiz Velho
immediately got through to score unopposed. If that might have been by the way of apology, they certainly no longer felt beholden after Remco van der Ban
's atrocious two-footer on Wahla.
Velho was replaced by Prokop Mottl
during half-time, and the Czech took just six minutes to leave his mark, overcoming Faisal Nousher - playing only his second match at senior level - to blast one into the net. Krystian Rykowski
lounged at the other end, and didn't look all that concerned on the few times the ball went near him. Given how he's Grilled last healthy custodian, though, it made perfect sense if he had been instructed not to take excessive risks - heck, any risks at all.
With the rain letting up, the time was ripe for Grilled to exhibit some of their more technical abilities, with Neeraj Muthyala
boxing out Antônio Maria Bonavides, and then swinging past Bilal Aziz, to take it all the way down the left. Kalki Parvathaneni
staked out the right spot in Hertha's penalty area, and his following knock on to Leong Wan Kang
was similarly spot-on.
Now three up, it was Chong Tse Chu
off and Rashid bin Ahmad
on. It was entirely Parvathaneni and Muthyala running the show now, and the latter's neat strike tucking it into the bottom corner in the 73rd minute, was followed tightly by another Parvatheneni assist, this time for Rashid. There would be a caution for Vikram Mudaliar
after a mean-spirited trip on Robbe Zagers, but the Belgian water-carrier was fortunately none the worse for wear.