The Birds were stopped in the last sixteen of the Raven Trophy by Stavromula Beta F.C. - and very painfully at that, being on the wrong side of a 6-1 scoreline. They got out of the blocks well, but their worst aspects would come up against Stavromula's best thereafter, as Spanish striker Nauzet Balodis tore their uncertain defence to shreds.
Low Aik Jia
's reputation appeared to have drawn special treatment from the opponents, with Ville Savunen very clearly overloading the right side on defence, as a failsafe behind Dimitar Markov. He probably needn't have bothered, though, from how Low would flop on yet another miserably rainy day.
That didn't keep Grilled from taking the lead through Neeraj Muthyala
, however, with Tian Yonghang
very wisely holding his pass until the first wave of distractions had run their course. Stavromula would be back level within four minutes, however, with Balodis nicking Pablo Maidana's blazing low cross magnificently. It was a sign of things to come.
The remainder of the first half was more a slog than anything, that said, as Hariharan Prabhu
just about tipped the edge Grilled's way. Manuel Galardini would be booked after Prabhu turned him once too many times, but he would properly compose himself, and fared much better in subsequent encounters.
It all began crashing down for Grilled after Baldois made it 2-1 from another of Maidana's contributions, and the entry of Yuta Nakakita
did nothing to slow the red-hot Spaniard, who completed his hat-trick in the 64th minute thanks to a very similar ball from the other flank.
The Birds sort of got their act together after Andrea Bisegna clipped the top of the bar a few minutes later, and Gennady Dvorak
tried to drag them back in it. Nothing came off for him, however, and Grilled would instead go 1-4 down in the 83rd, after Gambaretto knocked one home in contentious fashion, with there being a hint of handball off Enzo Alasia.
The goal still stood, though, and after Low made what was probably his first significant run of the day, to test Sabin Ferenţ for the first time in a long while, Pablo Maidana and Ville Savunen broke through in quick succession to run up the score.