|Season 51||W||4 - 5||Tournament (Group Phase)|
Fafane Fare Best
Winner In Name
Woodlands' Fafane Club saw their way past Grilled Birds in the third round of the Singapore Cup today, with Arne Winner proving to be every bit the menace that last Wednesday had hinted him to be. It was not as if the Birds were bound for defeat, but as against Mia San Toa Payoh, their failure to convert chances loomed large.
Fafane had just relegated after eleven straight seasons in II.3, with the long-tenured Danish head coach Shaheen Rashid Hegazy pledging a quick return. Their only recorded meeting with Grilled, an unofficial SG Super Cup VIII fixture, had come even further back, and was distinguished by their Italian import Settimio Franceschini scoring four goals... only to lose 4-5.
Franceschini had of course long retired from active play, but his shirt number - and lecacy - lives on in the form of Swiss striker Arne Winner. Known also as Arnt Wilk, Winner had already collected seven goals in three outings thus far this season, with his Croatian partner Sandro Proroković not far behind with four.
The Birds would enter with a bang, for all that. The game had barely settled when Chan Ze Han
went over Bican Güçal's leg in the third minute, and while there has been criticism that Chan has been resorting to such measures too often, this was an easy call for Chip Rodenmeyer to make. The indirect free-kick was laid backwards by Moey for Bilal Mohammad Harun
, who found the net on Grilled's first attempt on goal.
Fafane drew panic straight from the restart with a long ball that nearly reached Proroković, but Gilbert Webb
managed to poke it away on the second try. They would go Route One again in the thirteenth minute, and this time, Beniamin Ciałkowski kept it in with sheer speed, where he had no right to. His cross sailed over the massed six-yard box, but opposite winger Anselmo Manigrasso met it with a brilliant half-volley that crept inside the near post.
They weren't the only ones who could retaliate, and Grilled very nearly replied from their own kick-off, but Latvian goalie Denis Galuza was just a step faster than Neeraj Muthyala
on the chase. Galuza would have to stay on his toes as the Birds dominated the rest of the half, and the pick of his many saves had to be the one he managed off Islom Davlatov
man-on-man, right before the half-hour mark. Davlatov could hardly believe how Galuza got his body down in time, as the ball spun tantalizingly out of Moey's way.
Fafane's defence only improved as the match went on, and their wingbacks' willingness to tuck in greatly affected Grilled's ability to find space. Putting it in wasn't working either, with all the Fafane backs being adroit in the air, and Hildo Bungeneers even got over Moey Xin Seng
by a fair margin on one particular cross.
would disappoint once more in the 64th minute, after being put through by Cyril Künzler
's considered distribution in the 64th minute. Davlatov would ghost past Güçal with preternatural smoothness with the ball stuck to the tip of his boot, and had the right idea with his curled loft towards the unguarded back post. Sadly, it never came back down.
This was almost begging the opponents for punishment, and punish them, Fafane did. Arne Winner's cold-blooded finish two minutes later could only be recognized as a counterpoint to Grilled's previous wastefulness. Again, it was Ciałkowski who led the breakthrough down the left, as Chu Xin Lee
proved a poor match in a straight footrace.
Now spurred to urgency, Grilled spent far less time circulating the ball in search of openings, but it was unclear whether their newfound directness actually benefitted them. Fafane Club held firm, and Florus Romijn
for one was reduced to lashing out from over thirty yards. Granted, it wasn't a bad shot at all, but Galuza simply wasn't going to be beaten at that sort of distance.
With fifteen minutes remaining, Hovaness Noubaryan
put Hoàng Trung Quá
on for the largely anonymous Yuta Nakakita
, but there would be no miracle against Fafane's disciplined stalling.