|Season 69||L||2 - 1||Cup|
|Season 51||W||4 - 5||Tournament (Group Phase)|
Twice The Fafane
Arne Back At It
Fafane Club edged Grilled Birds for the second time in as many weeks, with the Birds not having properly taken their lesson from that last defeat. That was probably not helped by Yuta Nakakita
's unavailability through injury, which left Hovaness Noubaryan
the less than savoury option of pressing Neeraj Muthyala
into service as an emergency centreback once more. Swiss sensation Arne Winner was not at his best, but he turned up when it mattered.
It was perhaps an indictment of Grilled's thinness at the back, that Muthyala was selected ahead of Yuki Irie
and Hoàng Trung Quá
. Noubaryan must have had his reasons, but they surely came into question less than five minutes in, when Muthyala left Gilbert Webb
hung out to dry, after losing Sandro Proroković on Fafane's first big counterattack. Only Massoud Dob
's magnificent one-handed reaction save prevented Arne Winner from making it count then.
There would be no such lucky escape the second time round, after Denis Galuza's own excellent stop from Cyril Künzler
's foray. The ball was played long for Anselmo Manigrasso this time, and although Florus Romijn
gave chase, he couldn't prevent Manigrasso from slipping the ball through with the subtlest of touches. Winner was onto it in a flash, and he put it low into the corner, natural as could be.
Grilled had the insurance of near-monopoly possession, but would still suffer nearly half an hour without registering a strike on target, after an abortive too-clever free-kick setup in the 10th minute. Fafane for their part weren't overly interested in extending their lead either - to their detriment, as Larrun Etxartena powered inside the box after 36 minutes, only to find no backup. He was forced into trying to beat Dob at his near post, and cut it too close.
Galuza was once more outstanding with his point-blank denial of Moey Xin Seng
, as he looked to reach half-time with a clean sheet. The resulting corner got clogged up at the head of the penalty area, however, and Marcello Stecca would throw Islom Davlatov
off with a sneaky shove. That was spotted by the referee, and Künzler's floated free-kick was parted across to Chan Ze Han
, who had arrived like clockwork to finally level.
The Birds' propensity for costly mistakes would doom them once again, unfortunately. Fafane Club restarted the match in a more prepossessing mood, and captain Baptiste Sarron would take the ball up with his team seizing the initiative in the 57th minute. Grilled had the time to fall back in numbers, but somehow no-one took responsibility for Ilri Projko, as he catapulted himself at Sarron's lofted pass. A disbelieving Massoud Dob
raced out, but was beaten to it for 2-1.
It was a disappointing goal to concede, to say the least, and Grilled were back to scrabbling at scraps. Chu Xin Lee
was the one that the other Birds looked to, in this period of need, but Fafane Club refused to break. It didn't help that Grilled's wingers had to stay conservative, wary as Noubaryan was against Fafane's potential on breakaways - which Grilled had already fallen prey to.
Fafane were definitely willing to trade for tactical fouls, and the Birds were yielded another indirect free-kick with six minutes to go, this one on the flanks, for Urbany's block on Romijn. It would be a disaster, with Stecca intercepting Davlatov's telegraphed delivery with ease. Grilled's worst fears were realised as Fafane swept forth in strength, and Sandro Proroković would get on the end of a perfect Manigrasso cross, just as planned.
Davlatov wouldn't waste any time in compensating for that, after a desperate fall by Moey Xin Seng
got Grilled another go. Regular taker Künzler took charge this time, and Davlatov made space against Projko with his elbows, before blasting it in. Still, it was too little, too late.