Both Reach Playoffs
In an encouraging sign of progression, both Grilled Birds and Farmer Bunnies have attained the last sixty-four of their Generation Trophy tournaments respectively. The Birds went unbeaten in garnering a 7-1-0 record, which placed them 32nd out of 9174 participants. As for the Buns, they repeated their single loss from the last edition, to finish 39th of 3998 teams.
Grilled Birds' seemingly irresistable momentum carried on to the last two must-win games, and they first outdid Italian seventh division fuffolandia, 5-3. Vikram Mudaliar
and Moey Xin Seng
had them 3-0 up in a one-sided first half, but they then fell to complacency, and Tomi Lugibil's departure in the 71st minute gave fuffolandia a kick up the pants. A five-minute flurry of action saw them only one goal adrift, and it took Gilbert Webb
's intelligently-timed run in the 80th minute to seal the deal here.
The Birds then came up against up-and-coming Spanish Division Two club Ariquitaun F.C. for all the marbles, and had to weather a torrid first half-hour, in which Ariquitaun were banging incessantly on the gates; Webb would again score after Grilled started to apply some pressure of their own, thankfully, as Cyril Künzler
found room on the right. Florus Romijn
and Moey then worked Grilled to 3-0, and while Northern Irish forward Glyn Drake would follow up on his own shot to put it in at the second attempt in the last minute, it was far from enough.
Leaving the local set to make friendly banter with Ariquitaun's Singaporean import Lee Siong Kim after the final whistle, head coach Hovaness Noubaryan
lauded his players. "They're clicking extremely well - it's hard not to feel that we have a chance against any team in the world!"
It was a relatively low-drama day for the Buns, as they methodically procured 3-0 victories against their opponents, leaving little to chance. Bulgaria's FC Mardi were first to test their resolve, but the Division Five side would fall behind by the seventh minute, victims of Mushtag Al-Nameeri
's enterprise. Jon Benson
and Wong Ting Yew
duly settled the affair in the first half.
Their last obstacle would then be Swiss IV.23 outfit FC Rheinquartier Ducks, resplendent in their yellow-and-red striped away togs. Iustin Pirpiliu would miss a sitter for them early on, which turned out to be their biggest opportunity by far. The Ducks couldn't adapt to Farmer Bunnies' countering, and goals from Morgan Hu
, Al-Nameeri and Tham had the Buns revisit the final stages.
expressed his hope that the Buns would go one better than their last attempt at least, which ended in a first-round knockout by Manchester Galaxy Team. "We're a season older and wiser, with added firepower."
Notably, littlehorse's Toni Pirinen would share the tourney Golden Boot with Moccicosi's Roger Lambrechts and FC Waaaafflä's Anton Rothlischberger, with thirteen goals each to their names; littlehorse themselves would unfortunately not make it, having suffered a defeat and two draws.
Finally, Grilled International began on the wrong side of a 2-1 result, losing to Tel Aviv club Ishmereny4Ever. The V.189 champions allowed Ragib Banović
to open against a watchful defence, but Aldo Angelo Mannino set the record straight within five minutes, and a 73rd minute Ganesh Chatterjee counter handed them the points.
International then got on the right side of a 2-1, though they had to toil against American Division Four club Shameless FC. It was gearing up to be a frustrating sendoff, with no less than five good first-half shots warded aside by Brazilian goalkeeper João Vítor Baiano. Safari bin Hj Jali
would breach the goal at last in the 58th, and Didi Reidenbach
blasted a penalty home shortly afterwards, for International to end their participation with a 4-2-2 record.