The first day of the various Hattrick-wide age-group tournaments saw seven wins and two draws for the Grilled clubs. The Birds kicked off with a 5-1 win over Dutch fifth division side Kootjes United, who actually took a second-minute lead through a speculative - and spectacular - first-time volley from fullback Gernot Brückmann. The Birds' scoring machine would take its time to grind into being, but it would yield three goals in the space of four minutes, 31 minutes into the first half, before Islom Davlatov
came good in stoppage time.
A walkover against undermanned German representatives Grüner Trecker followed, which led into a four-all draw with Danish III.16 side The Vampiros. They were 4-1 up as late as the 82nd minute, with only Bilal Mohammad Harun
managing to find the target for Grilled, compared to the Danes, who were a model of efficiency in finishing. Neeraj Muthyala
hadn't given up, though, and pulled another back with his perspicacity; it would be Vampiros battling to keep a point in the final minutes, after Bilal and Kalki had tied it up.
To Hovaness Noubaryan
, that comeback was almost better than a victory. "It's easy to look good when one's ahead, but true character comes through when the chips are down. We will be up against some of the toughest opponents we've met, week in week out, next season - it's important for the team to be prepared for adversity."
Farmer Bunnies piled on the wins, beginning with a 3-0 against French Division Six outfit Lokomotiv 13eme that included two Vishnu Tallapaka
set-piece conversions. Tham Leng Teck
got the remaining goal, and also scored against Poland's Rzelichwa Parzęczewo in their 4-1 win next; Mushtag Al-Nameeri
was the pick of that fixture, as he sparkled on the right side of attack, and furnished a first-half brace.
It was then Nurlan Ablaev
's turn to shine after that, as the Buns encountered their stiffest test yet, from Lithuanian Division Five champions LRT team. Despite the 14th minute dismissal of fullback Christophe Justin, and Ablaev's indirect strike from the ensuing free-kick, LRT managed to equalize through Stasius Mergiūnas. The Buns had to rely on Ibrahim Zahran Al-Maashany
's neat finish in the 67th minute to earn the three points.
Grilled International, like the Birds, had two wins and a draw, the first of which was a thirteen-goal feast shared with Argentine V.46 team Linfocitos FC. International had the better of the 8-5 game, that somehow managed not to contain a hat-trick. Fausto Perono
and Wang Chu Chi
would get two each, as did André Defois of Linfocitos.
A 2-2 against fast-rising Spanish Division Six winners Romario's Team came next, with current Mongolian U-20 forward Amarjargal Shootie-Pootie equalizing late, after Safari bin Hj Jali
looked to have won it for International. Ragib Banović
then featured in a 6-1 dismantling of French sixth divisioners Argentine jaune et verte, as International again boasted of a strong possession-based core.