Grilled skipper Moey Xin Seng
was the first to rush back onto the pitch after the match ended, in an expression of pure joy. "It wasn't easy by any means, but we took our chances well." he said. "Rangers gave up very little, especially out wide, so we had to adapt our style. It worked."
With that, the Birds end the first round behind only reigning champions littlehorse, who lived up to their favourites tag by wiping a decent Robbie Football Club side out, three-nil at home. Their Irish playmaker Lawrence Tempest will however be out against -= Manchester United =- next weekend, with a bad thigh strain.
United for their part got a one-all draw against Grilled's next opponents Mia San Toa Payoh, whose national striker Jerry Lim cancelled Jesús Chiriboga's corner goal with one of his own. Kim Tae Hee FC edged above the duo with a 2-0 away win at Talpons, who did give a good account of themselves in all departments, but simply didn't excel in any.
The Farmer Bunnies' introduction to II.3 would also be a 2-0 win, against fellow freshies Ah Beng FC. A slow, cautious first half was highlighted by Ah Beng's Nigerian target man Robert Onyema slowly getting stuffed in Brendan Leung
's pocket, although to be fair Onyema was effectively up against three central defenders by himself.
This scenario was mirrored by Sim Leng Cheng
at the other end, and despite a couple of quarter-chances and a surprise strike from Dubi Warshaviak, it was difficult to see anything get past either goalkeeper. Jon Benson
took matters into his own hands with a wild dribble inside in the 31st, but the referee for some reason saw nothing wrong with Marius Ţopan's blatant shirt tug.
A goalless draw seemed most likely after Tham Leng Teck
sliced a golden opportunity wide, but Vishnu Tallapaka
made up for the miss with a deflected free-kick, 53 minutes in. Ah Beng FC didn't deserve that, but the Buns underlined their superiority with a volleyed effort from Sofian Azfar
some ten minutes later. That wasn't Azfar's best, but the high bounce fooled Italian custodian Dino Tiboni.
The result was entirely to Sikong Darong
's liking. "A win and a clean sheet - it was all I asked for, for our Division Two debut."
Oneteamtoplay beat former S-League winners FC Barca Singapore by the same margin, in a physical clash that saw them lose three of their men. Barca didn't escape unscathed either, and Bosnian newcomer Mihajlo Grbić will be unavailable for the better part of a month, after taking a big boot to his knee.
Grilled International completed the sweep by beating fc Snoetie 4-1, which was however a cutback from what they had gotten last season. Russian striker Anton Kutasov gave the visitors hope, as he matched Yao Erguo
's goal before half-time, but three from Wang Chu Chi
, Safari bin Hj Jali
and Sazwan bin Hj Muhd Salleh
would also make an unplanned league debut for International, after Soo Kiong Yau
came down with calf cramps in the 49th minute. Later inspection by the medical team would worryingly see Soo moved onto the long-term injury list, without further elaboration.