Grilled welcomed rare visitors today, as Kenyan Division Three team Kenya Bee arrived at The Cooking Pot for a friendly. The Tristan United affiliates would leave having secured a 6-5 win, but one would be hard pressed to identify real losers in this feast for the eyes.
The Bees were buzzing after a 10-0 wipeout of troubled league rivals FC Taimi HC DC LTE, with Dutch central midfielder Sjoerd Aandewiel eager to reprise his form. Grilled put out a largely reserve side under assistant coach Abdul bin Jantan's stewardship, with Chirag Thevar
and Dante Tran
granted starts alongside Kalki, and Kohei Okuya
making an appearance in defence.
The 29 year-old Kohei was rusty to say the least, from how he clattered opposing captain Carlos Malo in the eighth minute, though Malo didn't hesitate to make a meal of it either. Italian referee Daniele Falbo seemed in two minds as to whether to reward Melo's delayed dive, but gave it in the end. Gabriel Rof stepped up for the penalty, hitting it firmly past Krystian Rykowski
It was shaping up to be a real banger of a game long before then, with neither side paying much heed to defence - or even positioning, mostly. This was perhaps not what the coaches wanted to see, but the few thousand ticketed fans were delighted. Islom Davlatov
levelled for the Birds in the 20th minute, José Luiz Velho
going short on his cross then.
There would be another goal exchange within the next six minutes, with the visitors' Paka Lusalah first capitalizing on some poor communications between Grilled's centrebacks to get his strike on. The response came in a couple of minutes, as Jérémy Tarin
got past Rof and then Malo on the left, with some difficulty. He managed a good cross, nonetheless, and Moey Xin Seng
was watching out for it. 2-2.
Kenya Bee would reach half-time ahead, as Rof continued battling, with play becoming concentrated on his flank. An expansive passing sequence saw Gumersindo Cartageno mostly free on the other wing in the 35th minute, but Rof dribbled it himself instead - and it worked, with Kohei falling prey to Rof's deceptively-quick changes of direction.
That was it for Kohei, who would be replaced by Yee Jian Hui
for the second half. There seemed to be some deliberation over whether José Luiz Velho
should also be taken off, after the Brazilian had lost his temper earlier on, and had been lucky to escape with a yellow card after butting heads with Armando von Ernst. Velho would stay on in the end.
The game took some time to pick back up, and when it did, the Bees were on top. Grilled were struggling to maintain any semblance of order in the middle, and they were horribly exposed once Chirag Thevar
was pressured into an ill-advised pass in the 58th minute. Homegrown youngster Honest Bagatui had the legs to get to it before Hoàng Trung Quá
, and backed it up with a neat finish.
Kenya Bees looked like running away with it at points, but Jérémy Tarin
lit it up with a wondergoal out of nowhere in the 71st minute, which stunned Omari Mukuha and the spectators alike. Prokop Mottl
's entrance for Kalki Parvathaneni
then brought enough unpredictability for the Birds to break through the middle, and Chan Ze Han
- closely marked the entire time - made it four-all.
The fans didn't much much time to take that all in, before Hardik Jawadekar's potential gamewinner coming from the right, was again cancelled by substitute Yee Jian Hui
's first-ever goal for Grilled, which he definitely savoured. Armando von Ernst would have the final word, alas, as Grilled's defence paid too much attention to Paka Lusalah's run, leaving the Swiss veteran free.