Ola Quite Contrary
Not in the best state after a paltry three points from three matches, Grilled looked headed for a potentially season-breaking defeat when the one and only Swede Shooter grabbed a hat-trick in a rip-roaring nine minutes to steal the match from under Chemistry's noses.
Grilled have only visited the 101010-capacity Acidic City once before on official business, when Sulaiman saved all five spot-kicks in a Singapore Cup quarterfinal en route to their first Cup title. Chemistry retained four players from that landmark game to Grilled's seven, and the excitement generated even reached the heights of that first meeting in short spurts.
Chemistry were not shy about taking the game to their visitors, having decisively beaten Titus and Codingin in their first two games. An 0-3 away loss to RaZer did not dampen their spirits much, and only some stout defending by Grilled's unorthdox defence of Kek-Tjiang, Bona and Sid kept livewire winger Remeli bin Abd Jalil at bay.
Grilled shared possession about evenly with Chemistry, but were worlds apart in using the ball, as they consistently failed to bring the ball into an advanced position. Chemistry had no such trouble, and Faziallah bin Yusuf, back at his original club after a short stint in Norway, headed home a diagonal cross by Remeli.
Ex-U-20 defender Tan Huat De should have made it two for Chemistry as Grilled looked extra wobbly in the air, and the opponents singled out that weakness by peppering Grilled's penalty area with high balls. Sulaiman exceeded himself with a reflex tip over the bar from Tan's looping header, and waded bravely into a crowd to retrieve the corner.
Faziallah bin Yusuf, raring to build on his first league goal this season, then got a foot ahead of Kek-Tjiang as the battle-weary Grilled midfielder held back on a challenge. Sulaiman was in a hopeless situation, and could get nowhere near Faziallah's immediate grounder which fortunately bounced off the upright.Ola Martinsson
then announced himself with a piece of fine poaching three minutes later. Having already sampled a goal at The Acidic City in that quarterfinal, Martinsson reminded the spectators that he hadn't forgotten the art of scoring there, as he smashed a loose ball low into the net as if on automatic.
Chemistry were uncowed, and their slippery attacking midfielder Qin Caen-Khim showed why he has a S$12 million price tag by popping up on the left flank and picking off Grilled's rag-tag defence. Sid couldn't get a grip on him, and Kek-Tjiang demonstrated that his best position is clearly not fullback by letting Qin through too easily. A sharp jab, and Chemistry were back in the lead.
Martinsson soon set things right, with a lot of help from van Liere; The Dutch winger chose this moment for his obligatory once-a-match stunt, and drew two men to the byline before sending a short cross into the six-yard box with virtually no backlift. It was scrappy, as Martinsson used his chest and not a little pushing to get the goal, but the Swede hitman was never one to concern himself with that.
Fittingly, his match-winner was completely his own product. Kadak passed it square, but Martinsson was in what hardly could be called a scoring position. His sharp turn fooled Huat De completely, and two steps followed by a strong right-foot finish ensured that Hungarian goalie Brúnó Lantos would have no chance whatsoever.