Claw And Talon
was a familiar villian with his enigamatic play which might have cost Grilled Birds an upset win, but as it was they claimed a fortunate draw against Bluedragon. Grilled lined up in a defensive 4-5-1 formation never before seen in Grilled's three-season plus history, obviously tailored to stopping Bluedragon's vaunted strikeforce in its tracks. Bluedragon boasted Indonesian national striker Frangky Manaf, capped 29 times so far, upfront, with the speed merchant Gai Wai-Ming next to him. Pakpao's inclusion was meant to help against one of the most lethal forward pairings in the league, but he could but watch in despair as Asher Stanton
aimed a pass towards him when Grilled were forced on the defensive. One of the press of Bluedragon attackers had to intercept it, and it turned out to be Manaf who hit it past Bao-Tam with no trouble at all. Spanish center Mercé Delgado del Rincon ran through a riot of Grilled players to lob Bao-Tam, but aimed a little too high. Grilled were crammed in their half and the players often ate in each others' space, but Bluedragon did not capitalise as Grilled's numbers made up for the lack of communication. The Great Bluedragon Stadium was stunned as Johan Dewilde
went the length of the field on an innocous-looking counterattack to best Bluedragon's goalkeeper Sandu Drãghici. The Romanian was enraged by his defence's lack of coverage, and showed it. Dewilde for his part was congratulated very physically by lone striker Joe Stern
, who probably needed an outlet for his energies after racking up about two touches of the ball for the entire half.
Grilled's cause was aided immeasureably by Frangky Manaf's senseless headbutting of Lan Tuan-Mu
after the international star felt that Tuan-Mu had held him back. It was a definite red-card offence, and two players could now be spared to keep a handle on Wai-Ming, who found it harder to roam free. Grilled couldn't play properly as they were unaccustomed to the new formation, but Kek-Tjiang's policing of the left wing made Magnus Rolandsson, by far the top dog on the field, almost bearable. Grilled Birds drew back as they pressed for the draw, and the Bluedragon supporters yelled for their team to take the fight to them. Bluedragon did, causing Zhan Ju-Hau
to linger too long on the ball while he looked for a free teammate, and Wai-Ming came from behind to take the ball away. Thankfully for Grilled, Dewilde came up in support and delayed Wai-Ming sufficiently for the threat to dissipate. del Rincon had a great chance to earn maximum points for his team with three minutes to go, but his attempt skidded an inch wide of the right post. Grilled were at sixes and sevens as players were pulled out of position by Bluedragon's rapid switching of attacking angles, but that was their last opportunity as Tellskär booted the ball high up for the final seconds to tick by harmlessly.