Grilled wrestled leadership of the S-League back from Winning Eleven in what must be considered one of their finest exhibitions to date. Winning seemed to have applied poetic justice to Grilled when Greek ex-international Nikos Avramidis equalised in the 83rd minute to make it 2-all, the score by which Winning's earlier home fixture against Grilled had ended up due to Martinsson's 89th minute leveller then.
There would be no repeat this time, though, as back-from-injury Jon Andrea Rottman
put Grilled back in front in a flash. Those fantastic final six minutes bore witness to three more goals from the Birds, as they expressed their home dominance tellingly with a full time scoreline of 6-2.
While no local club had yet beaten Abed-Sulaiman in goal at The Cooking Pot this season, it was odds-on for Winning Eleven to achieve the feat as they were by some distance the deadliest Singaporean side in front of goal. Eight S-League games saw 33 goals for them, an average of better than four a match.
Grilled at least still had the meanest defence, conceding just over one goal a game - and as previously mentioned, all of them away. They would be tested by Kai-Chung, Avramidis and Jin-Ping, who occupy three of the top four spots on the Golden Boot chart, and who were all fielded by Winning.
The red-and-blue stripes of Winning washed over Grilled in the beginning, their experienced midfielders generating countless offensives for their strikers. Avramidis came close with a stiff right-footed rocket, but Sulaiman was up to it and absorbed the force with his forearms.
Grilled quickly realised that Winning's central defence of Miao Joon-Ming and Mathias Jacobsson was not particularly steady, with converted central midfielder cum coach Jacobsson often caught wandering too far up, probably in contradiction of his own tactical instructions.
Wai-Kin made himself a dangerous target man by hanging just in front of Joon-Ming, and in the 25th minute he flicked the ball on and was rushing after it when Joon-Ming stuck his leg out. Contact appeared to be made on the boundary of the penalty area, and referee Vincenzo Guerrini called it to the attacking team's advantage. Penalty.
Sid slid it in at the left post, leaving young Dutch goalie Heiko van Gompel with no chance. Hidde van Liere
then began showing his class, the width of The Cooking Pot's field giving him room to work with. Winning's compact defence could not adequately deal with the creative van Liere, and soon he spotted Martinsson free just a few metres out. Quick feet by the Swede did the job, and Grilled were suddenly 2-0 up.
Avramidis then became the first player from a Singaporean side to score against Grilled at home, with French winger Karim Delarue, briefly on his side's transfer list, streaking past Falkbo like he wasn't there. A calculated return sought out Avramidis, who advanced on goal before planting a perfect chip over a dismayed Sulaiman.
Grilled might have bitten back immediately, but Rottman's hopeful grounder from outside the box was expertly held by van Gompel despite it having taken a slight deflection. No complaints from the partisan fans at half-time - they were well satisfied with the one-goal lead.
Most of the second half saw brilliant technical play, but both sides were only too ready to fall back, which prevented decisive passes from making themselves count. The whole complexion of the match changed in the 83th minute, when Avramidis erased Grilled's lead. Delarue was again just too quick on the right, and his arcing cross was met by the flying Greek. Sulaiman only got the briefest of touches as the ball hit the back of the net.
Travelling Winning fans were beginning to chant about getting their own back, and retaining top spot when Grilled rampaged from the restart. Quah Han Kok
upstaged Delarue for once, and he got to the corner flag before sending the ball back low. Rottman kicked it on the fly, and saw his angled drive nestle in at the far post to send the home supporters into delirium.
Winning were still a threat to take a point, or even all three, until Sid effectively put the fixture beyond their reach with a second penalty goal. This time, the call was for handball, with the unfortunate Jacobsson unable to deny that it had quite clearly ricocheted off his chest onto his palm smack in the middle of the six-yard box.
There was yet time for Grilled to build up their goal difference at the expense of Winning, as Martinsson determinedly held off two defenders to drill one more in past van Gompel, and Falkbo cleaned up in the last minute of regular time at the conculsion of a sixty-metre run across the field, firing in at the far post.