Cheating The Reaper
Never Say Die
Magnificent Ola Martinsson
picked Winning Eleven's collective pockets with a last gasp 89th minute equaliser. The home side, defending their perch on top of the S-League, looked set to cash in a decisive and probably deserved victory when up popped Terkel Borup
to swing in a fateful ball for Martinsson to guide home.
Winning Eleven were clear favourites to extend their 10-game unbeaten run, as they have recovered from last season's dramatic late collapse to post some incredible midfield performances. Kek-Tjiang was sensationally dropped for the third league match in a row, as sources close to the midfield hard man cited family problems.
A club that had managed to put five goals past both HaTT and Titus Titanium IV in consecutive contests would be expected to pummel any visitors into submission, and Winning went for the jugular. Grilled had maintained a relatively watertight backline so far, but Winning's dominance in the middle of the park forced many panicky moments.
The first controversial event happened in the 15th minute, when Avramidis went clear through on goal and looked good to add to his tally of eleven so far. Abed-Sulaiman appeared beaten as Avramidis pushed the ball wide of the Egyptian goalie, but not one to let up, Sulaiman threw his body into the Greek striker.
To many it looked a clear-cut penalty, but referee Nilson Carioca was in no doubt that Sulaiman had got the ball - and indeed he had swiftly garnered it in his arms. Avramidis sportingly did not complain, and had no cause to the next few times he gained possession, for he wasn't convincing in his dribbles against Bona and company.
The masses of home fans were not worried, for Grilled were battered heavily and had more than a few close calls. The awaited breakthrough finally arrived through German rightback Reinold Mönkhof, as he picked up where French ex-international winger Karim Delarue had left off, and smashed a mighty shot into the bottom near corner.
Grilled could have well been three down by half-time, as they were steamrolled by the Winning Eleven engine. The Greens emerged from the tunnel after half-time looking pepped-up, though, and began the second period by recording their first shot on target, a decent long-range effort by Siu-Yue.
Quah Han-Kok then displayed the lethal cocktail of speed and craft that saw him oust Hidde van Liere
from the right winger slot, as he threw off 36 year-old Klintskog with a delicate feint and then burst past hapless Jacobsson in the same move. No one could chase him down before he lobbed it into the box for Martinsson to finish with clinical efficiency.
The goal was ample compensation for Grilled's renewed efforts, but Winning maintained that overall edge and sent Grilled reeling back. The side sorely missed Kek-Tjiang's uncompromising tackling as Hultander and Jin-Ping controlled the direction of the game, and even Rottman's zealous tracking back couldn't prevent Kai-Chung from flashing a spinning strike just over the bar.
Two minutes later, Winning Eleven got their second, which most spectators must have agreed would seal the match. Grilled were firmly on the backfoot, and defended very deeply in an effort to protect the draw. They didn't count on Klintskog waiting his moment and beating Falkbo's attempted offside trap. The two oldies tussled for a moment, but the ball fell on Klintskog's good side and he cleverly lobbed Sulaiman from ten metres.
It was then Winning's turn to defend as they counted on passing the ball about for the last twenty minutes, and indeed Grilled made no headway until the last minute of regulation time. It looked hopeless when the ball was cleared to the left wing, but a missed header saw Borup away and free, and the rest is history.