Stopped At Twelve
What A Show
Grilled Birds put an end to Winning Eleven's 12-match winning streak in all competitions, during which they had amassed 63 goals and only been scored against five times, one of which was by Han Kok last season. Disappointingly, only seventy-eight thousand turned out at The Cooking Pot for what must be one of Grilled's biggest games this season, though that number was already third highest in Singapore this rainy weekend.
Winning brought along their all-conquering first team, but their players must have had an eye on Wednesday's encounter against Uchiha, judging from their tame tackling early on. Grilled appear to encounter their old players every so often, and today it was Au-Yong Siu-Yue's turn to make his second return to his former home.
It was a current Grilled star who turned on the style, though, as Ola Martinsson
followed last week's heroics with a well-taken goal after just twelve minutes. Hidde van Liere
was again the architect, the Dutchman racking up his tenth assist of the campaign through a bullet pass that split two defenders.
The fans, who had been fearing the worst after home defeats against Herron and Team Singapore, duly got behind the team with their voices. For a while, there was the possibility of the 30 year-old Martinsson singlehandedly slaying the visitors, as he looked ten years younger when near the penalty area.
Martinsson should have hit the target when presented with a straight line to goal in the 33rd minute, as ex-Canadian national defender Ashworth was nowhere near reaching him with his sliding block. A couple of minutes later, he had another strike palmed away by Guardiola, and this time Winning got the ball up to Kai-Chung, who sidefooted a light shot that Sulaiman let slip through for once.
Grilled's Egyptian captain was not at ease for the first time in a long while as he was reduced to fisting away routine catches, but the rest of the team were ready to fill in for their leader. Winning hardly had a sniff on goal as Grilled went in search of a second goal.
All eyes were on Sid as he lined up a free-kick after Kek-Tjiang was tripped in a central position, but to everyone's surprise the Polish deadeye gunner swung it high to the far post. Kadak was ready and waiting, evidently having rehearsed this play with Sid, and got a free header which ended up brushing the wrong side of the upright.
The eventual breakthrough was not long in coming, and the hardworking Dani Spirig
was the scorer. Detailed to watch Siu-Yue, the Swiss midfielder not only kept his quarry quiet, but found the time to fill in at the middle. Han Kok spotted the free man and got off a clever reverse pass that Spirig forwarded on, right into the net.
Grilled were hammering at the door incessantly by now, and Kadak missed by inches off a wonder half-volley. Lorenz Paullin
put a heapload of spin on his left-footed effort, which may have been unintentional, but it was headed right towards the top corner. Kudos to Guardiola for keeping an eye on the unorthodox shot, as he managed to smack it away at the last instant.
van Liere was not done yet, though, and with both the attack-minded Karim Delarue and himself on the same flank, there was always going to be a lot of movement on that side. Unlike Delarue, van Liere made his runs count, and slipped through a square ball in the 80th minute that Kadak poked through Guardiola's legs to confirm the result.