Full House Fever
Grilled turned on the style as they closed their first season in Division Two, and hopefully not their last, with a convincing 5-1 thumping of Chinablack. Grilled's men were fresh from a walkover while Chinablack had a gruelling game against Shadow Chaser FC the week before, and the disparity told. Chinablack needed to win by five clear goals, but they didn't look like chasing for the win. The mass transfer listing of players in anticipation of relegation couldn't have helped the team's confidence either.
For the first time, Grilled kicked off in front of a stadium filled to capacity, with every seat taken up for the season-ender, exceeding the previous record of 59936 against Geylang Eagles United. For all that was against them, Chinablack battled bravely, with pacy Slovenian Tilen Pavloviè and strong local Amshul Dhanesh instrumental in containing and pressurising Grilled Birds. Young Chinese Hsiao Tzung was slightly out of his depth, leading to Aznan Noor Yadah
's assist for Zhan Ju-Hau
to knock down and finish. Chinablack, realising that their slim hope of survival was slipping out of their grasp, retaliated with a determined attack that ended in Edensten falling over Alcántara's outstretched leg in the crowded Grilled penalty area. To the partisan crowd it looked a clear cut case of running into a defender's leg to draw a foul, but the referee pointed to the spot, earning a chorus of boos. Captain Shi Fei-wen reverently placed the ball and thumped the ball slightly to Bao-Tam's right to even the score. The game looked very much in the balance, when Grilled's Daniel Tellskär
tipped it with a minute to go to half-time. He beat the Chinablack offside trap running onto a Ma Dai-Lin
through ball, scooping the ball over Chilean keeper Eduardo Alaín Guzmán. The fans went absolutely wild when Aznan Noor Yadah
put Grilled two up at the break with a cracking shot after Tellskär and Ju-Hau tore through the backline with a salient mix of on-the-ball skills and snap passes.
Chinablack came back with conviction, and looked very much Grilled's equal though they must have realised the impossibility of turning the game around. Celebrated forward Xi Tian-Xiang, formerly of now defunct S-League team navin, flaunted the calibre that made him twice a Division Two Golden Boot winner with slick moves that left Lan Tuan-Mu
on his bottom once. He was swarmed by Grilled's back three though. Shi Fei-wen picked up a yellow card for holding on to the ball, joining Zhan Ju-Hau
in the referee's book. Grilled's rhythm permeated the game, and Ulf Hjortlind
at last broke his five-game scoring drought in a straightforward manner after the midfield had done the donkey work. Xi Tian-Xiang had not given up hope even with his team three goals down, and his seasons of high-level play gave him the composture to carve a path into the Grilled penalty area all by himself. He stepped clear of Dewilde to thunder the ball to the near post, but Hang Bao-Tam
flew across goal to stop Tian-Xiang's effort. Grilled were just getting pumped up, and Hjortlind set off a wave around the stadium when he pulled clear of Chinablack's resolute fullback Läfvengård to beat Guzmán for the second time with an angled grounder. That meant the Swede retained his queer record of never scoring just a single goal in match for Grilled yet. Grilled sat back for the rest of the game, and kept themselves down to half a lap of honour at the final whistle before trooping off, mindful of the qualifier ahead.