Grilled breezed through to the semi-finals with a surprisingly straightforward axeing of jafjfqaoi, one of II.1's top sides. Widely expected to hog possession and leave Grilled pecking at scraps, the home team gave the ball away too cheaply and were mauled 0-4 by the 15th minute.
Jafjfqaoi's defence was conspiciously lacking their national sweeper and captain Gan Kek-Tjiang, 28, who is nearing a hundred internationals and probably as experienced as any other three of their players put together. 33 year-old veteran Mohd Al-Rifaie bin Jaafar was forced into the left-back role after Gan was injured in the last round, and the difference was telling.
Grilled's full-strength team made the first incursion, and Rottman was tripped within touching distance of the penalty area before sixty seconds had gone by. Sid then gave Grilled a dream start as he fired confidently between two defenders in the home team's wall, to which Argentine goalie Constantino Villavicencio had no response.
Paullin made it two just three minutes later, with his non-stop running shaking off his shadow. Siu-Yue broke clear in midfield at the same time, and could have asked for no better outlet. Paullin got onto the ground pass smoothly and rode Villavicencio's final lunge to slip it under his body.
Sid was a terror in defence too, as he stuck to notorious wide striker Kruiswijk like glue. Kruiswijk had his flashes of brillance, like in the 10th minute when he swooped past Sid with the barest of feints. Aware of the danger, Sid got his arm out and hauled the striker to the ground, escaping with a yellow card.
Sulaiman kept the lead intact when Ricky Nielsen soared to meet a Chun-Hin cross in the air, as he dove reflexively to punch the ball down too fast for Klaus Lieff at the far post to react. The counterattack was on, and Sid swung it down the line for Han Kok, who simply outran all. Martinsson didn't waste Han Kok's present, and ferried the ball home.
The lid was clamped down on jafjfqaoi a minute later, when Rottman won the ball from a now catatonic defence to stab a fourth past the unfortunate Villavicencio. Barring a miracle, the match was over as a contest. Star forward Kruiswijk vented his annoyance by following through a bodycheck on Bona, for which he was rightly booked.Ulf Hjortlind
must have had mixed feelings in the second half, when Wai-Kin pulled up sharply after an abortive tackle. While surely no professional would wish harm to one of his fellows, an injury was probably the only way Hjortlind would get his moment in the sun. He certainly looked sheepish at changing out of his tracksuit well before receiving orders.
However the top gun at Grilled remained undoubtedly Ola Martinsson
, as the crafty Swede directed a probably unnecessary fifth goal in after a lucky bounce. Wary of losing both his first-choice strikers in a single match, Alcántara was seen furiously gesturing at his ace to take it easy. Martinsson obliged, withdrawing into midfield.
Jafjfqaoi wanted a consolation goal for their fans, but Grilled would make them earn it. Their player-coach Joe McCabe nearly got it after Tai-In circumvented Grilled's backline with a classy return of a corner, but Sulaiman's overbearing presence contributed to McCabe's miss.
Rottman almost snatched a sixth as he dived bravely into a forest of legs to power a header at the corner of goal, only for Villavicencio to reach back and sling the ball halfway across the field. No disappointment for the Swiss playmaker nonetheless, for he knew Grilled had done far more than required to progress.