Nuts Navigate Through
Not Stern Enough
A beautiful brace from Joe Stern
proved insufficient against the midfield powerhouse and well-oiled attack of Ultimate NutsZ as they romped to a 2-3 away win despite not starting with Romanian national striker Florian Agãfitei and having to rely on second-choice goalie Wu Shing-Cheong towards the end.
The crowd was positively electrifying as they howled for a berth in the quarter-finals, and most of the stadium was on its feet after Joe Stern
showed a magical touch to guide the ball into the top corner from twenty metres. Dewilde, already on a yellow card after a silly bit of petulance in the third minute, was unwilling to commit to a challenge, allowing star midfielder Niklas Gabrielsson a free shot on goal. He didn't get it exactly right though, and Bao-Tam had no trouble grabbing it. Asher Stanton
got muddled by the pace of the game, which was turning out to be a cracker, and he hit an atrocious backpass which was intercepted by Jonatan Svantesson. Svantesson rushed to shoot when he had plenty of time, and rued it when his effort sped wide of the post. The momentum shifted to Grilled, and Hjortlind snapped a fast one after Tellskär had dispossessed Japanese wingback Taichiro Tokaji who was lingering on the ball, but Belgium goalie Adolphe Bertholet swatted it away. In the same minute, sweeper Magnus Christiansson demonstrated his own flair from distance as he shocked Bao-Tam with a totally unexpected rocket from well outside the penalty area. Grilled's fans skipped a heartbeat when youth winger Henrik Svensson appeared to have been caught by Tuan-Mu's trailing leg in a scoring position. The referee deemed Svensson to have gone down too early and booked him for good measure instead. German forward Falko Scheffler stubbed a toe badly, but this spelled bad news for Grilled as Agãfitei came in to replace him and immediately turned the Grilled defence inside out. Jonatan Svantesson was much encouraged by Agãfitei's arrival, but expressed it in the wrong way with his boots into Alcántara's ankle, escaping with just a caution.
The Grilled backline was positively intimidated by the prodigy Agãfitei, who had already been capped 14 times for Romania's senior team despite just being 20. Agãfitei wasted no time in putting his name up in lights on the scoreboard, outfoxing Tuan-Mu for a simple finish. Grilled were reduced to firing from range, but they weren't too bad as it as an attempt by Zhan Ju-Hau
was mere inches away from goal. Grilled saw a ray of hope when Bertholet sprained himself rushing out from goal, and relatively untested teenager Wu Shing-Cheong take his place. Sure enough, he fumbled Hjortlind's tenative shot and Joe Stern
was present to level the game, sending the faithful into rapture. It still wasn't enough to salvage Grilled's cup ambitions, as NutsZ's defensive midfielder Martin R. Eriksson completed the scoring just seconds later.