Han Kok Vibrant
Grilled eased their way into the seventh round as the second seed in the Cup, after Winning Eleven threw in the towel against Uchiha Clan's riches. Pudgy Penguins, who eliminated Division Two club FC ~ vile in the last round, broke through twice against the Birds but were scored upon five times themselves. Their manager took it in good grace, though, and had a good chat with Grilled's gaffer both pre and post-game.
Aware that the Cup was a cash cow that they could not afford to risk, Grilled have slowly been shifting to a full first team squad for the competition, though rookie Bukhari Abd Hamid
won a place on the team despite sitting out the last game. van Liere got a deserved break, leaving Lee Jie Siong
to take the right wing and play a more defensive role.
The Penguins played their new Hungarian rightback, Ferenc Gonda, but their strength remained their two excellent Spanish central midfields, David Montenegro and Rodrigo Ramallo. Grilled were no strangers to an Iberian connection, having relied on imports such as Rafael García Sole and Ricard Machado in their Division Four days. With Kek-Tjiang and Han Kok to handle that department, they were nevertheless able to control the middle.
Han Kok turned out to be more motivated than usual, having had a discreet enquiry made about him by the national team's coach. Gonda hadn't fully integrated into the Penguins defensive system, and ended up being shaken off by Han Kok's strong running. The impetuous midfielder never looked like passing, and instead fired off a wild shot past Reynaldo Marquéz to put Grilled in front.
The match settled down for a bit, and towards the end of the first half, Penguins' stopper Rodrigo Ramallo tipped in an air ball played in by Brazillian winger Amauri Pena Bueno. With spunky Lithuanian wide striker Sergejus Kulincikas also operating on the right, Bona could do little to cover both attackers at once especially with Bukhari slow to track back.
That had barely began to raise the hopes of another come-from-behind victory when Grilled crushed those thoughts with three goals in the following three minutes. First, Hjortlind began the countdown to his 100th competitive goal for Grilled when he preyed upon a mishandle by Marquéz - Bukhari atoned for his sluggishness with a brave leap that forced an awkward save by the Penguins' goalie.
Kadak then hammered a straightforward grounder in from the restart, and Sid then crashed in an inch-perfect penalty shot off the angle between post and crossbar to put space between the two sides.
Grilled were guilty of some cynical fouls in the second half, which saw Hjortlind, Sid and Bukhari booked. No injuries resulted, though, since the infractions were more blatant than violent. Kadak was also guilty, but for a different reason, that of missing an open goal after having the ball being fed to him by Han Kok just five metres out.
The Penguins did eke out a second goal from their exciting right-sided play, as Swiss midfielder Frédéric Buhofer forced the ball home from close range after Sulaiman sprawled to keep out the initial long shot. Grilled answered in kind, as Shen Kek-Tjiang
lobbed Marquéz three minutes later for his 30th career goal.