Perhaps affected by Arkadiy Bakunin's ruthless plugging for a replacement forward, Tim Hobson
answered in the only way he knew how - through his feet. Hobson plundered another two goals to take his count to three in the Singapore Cup so far this season. Having fielded a near full-strength squad after most of the others were sent to do appearance duty in the walkover against rothgar on Sunday, Grilled still looked uninspired against a tenacious NiRvAnA UtD defence. Having stayed back from the start, NiRvAnA turned ultra defensive when striker Lai Ying-Kit got his marching orders while the game was in its infancy for hacking Alcántara down. The decision seemed slightly harsh as Alcántara was completely unhurt, but the referee was implacable. Hobson then exchanged passes well with Stern to no avail, until a good 25-metre long pass from Dai-Lin enabled him to break free and score. Grilled then assaulted the NiRvAnA goal in waves, and on the half-hour Lan Tuan-Mu
doubled the lead with a graceful shot aimed between defenders Wei-Lieh and bin Fadzim. The NiRvAnA coach was red-faced at that goal, since Wei-Lieh had previously waved for goalie Min-jho to come out, only leave the goal at Tuan-Mu's utter mercy. Phi-Hung showed his defiance by troubling Bao-Tam with two shots on target from afar, if they were rather tame. Before the half ended, NiRvAnA found themselves with a man down from Hobson's studs. Hobson though only picked up his second yellow card of the season, a light punishment considering Ying-Kit's.
The second half caused consternation from both sets of fans at the NiRvAnA UtD area, as both teams sat back in their own halves, with Grilled Birds practising their passes within their own midfield almost all the time. Joe Stern
got mobbed on his occassional forays, and Hobson declined to share his fate. The two of them did produce one more goal, a classic Hobson header from a Joe Stern
corner straight into the middle of the six-yard box. Hobson, who took Grilled's corners for much of his career with the team, relished his new role as he took up a stance that not even the goalkeeper could dislodge him from. Assured of his positional advantage, all he then needed to do was leap when the corner went straight to him. The crowd left in droves before the actual end of the match. Those who did not realise it was all over after that goal did get to watch a comic moment from NiRvAnA UtD midfield lynchpin Zeng Quoc-Nguyen, who lost a battle against gravity after some seconds of scrabbling for purchase on the wet turf. He did see the funny side of his gestures after the event, good sport that he was. Despite his show, it was curtains for his side as they failed to threaten, allowing the match to stumble to a 0-3 ending.