While a 0-4 rout on away ground could not usually be termed as lacklustre, Grilled's second round Cup win by that scoreline was just that. It was not so much that the Dolphins were a semi-pro club, but more because they could only field nine starters due to injuries and other commitments.
Dolphin first teamers Deng Chen and Khairun Haled bin Bakiri nursed knocks from the bruising derby encounter with Sentosa FC on Sunday, while Arab expat Roy Doering-Saad was hurt in their fabulous 5-1 thrashing of NinNahBeh United in the first round of the Cup. Having no reserves, the Dolphins made the courageous decision not to forfeit and disappoint the 7000 paid spectators.
The official lineup was a 2-4-2 for the home team, who immediately massed at the back. Grilled's players, some of whom clearly looked let down, set about the mindless task of grinding out goals from a massed defence. Paullin created the eighth minute breakthrough, twisting into a 360-degree turn and leaving Bona a simple tap-in.
Defender Law Jung-Ho gave away a yellow card after sticking his elbow into Abd Hamid, as the 17 year-old debutant flattered to deceive with fanciful passes. He did pull off a creative volley wide to Hjortlind, but the Swedish forward left Martinsson a bit too much to do with an overhit cross.
Hjortlind was determined to get the most out of a rare start, and set Grilled firmly in front with two goals in three minutes late in the half. Both times the Dolphins defence got mixed up with themselves, which allowed Hjortlind to punish them with deliberate strikes to the corners of the goal.
Fans were not amused by Grilled's lack of industry in the second half, though they could almost be forgiven, having established a commanding lead against a side that was two men down from the outset. The home team didn't make it easy for Grilled either, as they weren't shy about tackling at all.
Still, the difference in class was visible, and only superb goalkeeping from Wang Duk-Dong prevented a total whitewash. Ignoring his numerous more mundane saves, two were particular eye-openers. First, Martinsson had a long-range running lob right on target, but the goalie was positionally sound and denied the Cup final hero.Lee Jie Siong
had an effort from a similar position about ten minutes later, hit harder and flatter. Duk-Dong was recovering from a dash to the head of the penalty area, but exhibited excellent jumping abilities to reach the ball and bat it over the bar.
It wasn't the goalkeeper who stopped Spirig, however. Grilled had moved into second gear by the end of the game, and several shrewd body feints by the Swiss youngster brought him past the entire Dolphins defence. He smoothly slid the ball under Duk-Dong, but Lim Choon-Mun was charging back to cover and managed to stop the ball on the line.
He paid a heavy price for that bit of heroism, as he doubled over in agony after accidentally doing the splits. His effort was clearly appreciated by the fans, who as a body gave him an ovation as he was supported off the pitch. The Dolphins had started without substitutes, so they had to play out the last fifteen minutes with just eight men - but after a good seventy-five minutes with nine, did it still matter?
Martinsson rather uncharitably banged in Grilled' fourth soon after play restarted, and in doing so preserved his proud record of having scored in every first or second round Cup match he had participated in for Grilled. That seemed enough for the star striker, and truly it would have been a shame to capitalize on the brave hosts' troubles further.