Winning Too Strong
There was to be no revenge for the Singapore Community Shield surrender, as Winning Eleven were simply too good at home for Grilled Birds. The defending S-League champions racked up a three goal advantage, before former U-20 midfielder Quah Han Kok
pulled one back for his team.
Winning again boasted much the same starting eleven that won them the league last season, though Grilled had little reason to fear them, having taken four of six possible points off them. Grilled paid for their reshuffled defence as Sid hesitated in his new central position, allowing David Klintskog to pass him and thrash home a left-footed stunner.
The home side piled it on, and in the 22nd minute Nikos Avramidis came very close with a cheeky lob after Karim Delarue had delivered a tricky short pass. Sulaiman was well and truly beaten, but it was just a little too hard, and bounced off the crossbar to land on top of the netting.
Grilled then enjoyed a mini-revival with several forays by Jaan Kadak
, who was crudely chopped down by Tai Chan-San just outside the box. Nothing came of that free-kick as Martinsson wasted it by taking it quickly, and Quah was just unlucky when his arrow-straight stinger rocked the uprights.
Winning retook the initiative, and Zang Kai-Chung was given far too much time on the ball in the 39th minute, as Bona had been attracted to several onrushing attackers on the weak side. The first volley was swung well wide, but Grilled never really cleared, and two minutes later Avramidis made it 2-0 with a stiff downwards header.
There was then an ugly incident as Quah went straight for Kai-Chung's legs from the kick-off. It did not look especially bad from the stands, but the 30 year-old ex-national striker spent an extended length of time in agony on the ground. Patrik Persson eventually had to substitute Zang, and the referee booked Quah almost as an afterthought.
The simmering discontent carried across the fifteen minute interval, and several players were guilty of going in unnecessarily hard, an unhappy state that was not helped by the referee apparantly refusing to take notice. Things finally came to a head when Rottman got Delarue with a questionable slide, and the French winger got a boot into Rottman while on his back.
A free-for-all then ensued, as Rottman pushed his face into Delarue's, before being restrained by several of his teammates. Delarue continued heaping abuse on him despite being likewise held back, and after several minutes of uproar the referee finally had all players seperated. To the crowd's disbelief, he then sent Delarue off and let Rottman go with a reprimand.
That did not dampen Winning's ardour, unfortunately for the visitors, as they were hit by a Jin-Ping sucker punch three minutes later. Grilled appeared to be leveraging well on their numerical advantage when Chan-San split the Grilled backline with a through ball from his own half. Jin-Ping barely got past the Sulaiman barrier, but did enough to see the ball across the Grilled goalline.
Faced with a demoralising start to the season, Han Kok gave the travelling faithful some reason for hope, as his tireless heckling brought about a gaffe by Markus Hultander. Caught in possession, Hultander did not have the acceleration to match Han Kok, and the speedy midfielder then evaded the last man to hammer a consolation goal past Guardiola.