Grilled went on rebuilding some of their fragile ego in the Ravens Trophy competition, with a high-scoring 7-2 steamrolling of Austrian fifth division participants Cordoba4ever. As against Krautrock in the first round, the Birds resolved to stay on the offensive, and that was more than enough on a heavy, soggy pitch.
This battle would be won in midfield, as although Ludo Acda's team were a match for Grilled's on paper, Hariharan Prabhu
's sustained excellence granted them a minor yet decisive edge. Cordoba did have Ingolf Godow in a similar mood up top, but he suffered from accustomed partner Mirko Burbaum having a particularly bad day.
If Burbaum had issues parlaying his pace on this surface, however, Low Aik Jia
had no such problems. The 30 year-old winger seemed to have finally conquered one of his old bugbears, as he glided across the wet grass smooth as silk. Six minutes in, a slip from American fullback Ade Yunker played him in, and he duly snuck the opener past Davide Vicenti in a no-nonsense manner.
Cordoba raised their game about then, and after Gennady Dvorak
got a yellow card for repeated sloppy tackles, Acda skippered them back into the running with a tremendous header, after Joeli Charlesworth sent it into the middle. Minutes later, Burbaum would shake off the cloud over him for long enough to hunt Godow's disguised through pass down, giving Cordoba the lead.
Grilled didn't stay down for long, and they levelled when Rinor Isufi
twisted his way through a bit later. Cordoba barely had time to react before it became 4-2, as Gennady Dvorak
exhibited stunning close control to waltz past their defence twice in as many minutes - which was tough for Vicenti to take, to say the least.
The Birds would pull further clear as the match went on, with the Austrian side wilting against Low's apparently-increasing speed, that came to the fore most prominently in the 56th minute. Starting from inside his own half, Low shredded past all comers in a flash, and the unfortunate Yunker was left looking bad again, as he was left lunging at shadows. Not content with that, Low tempted Vicenti by drawing close, before prodding it between the goalie's legs.
That certainly got a rise out of the Cordoba fans, but their reaction didn't affect Low much. It did spark Cordoba to greater efforts, though, and with Yuta Nakakita
taking his time to adjust after coming on for Gene Filippone
, Godow had his chances. Increased contribution from their fullbacks further enhanced their potency, but Yunker was denied his revenge as Wong Tian Han
absorbed his powerful blast from the right in the 81st.
With barely five minutes left, tying it up was surely beyond Cordoba, but they admirably kept going; sadly for them, Radminas Vladislavauskas' tumble inside the box was waved away, and a splendid Grilled counter saw Low complete his hat-trick. Never one to be seen as tame, Low made it a point to swirl his jersey in front of the opposing section, and was immediately booked for the provocation.
Of course, that made no substantive difference whatsoever, and Rinor Isufi
put the icing on in injury time with a cheeky half-chip across the dispirited Vicenti.