Tricolor, Spartak Triumph
Grilled wouldn't repeat their tournament heroics of the magical past season, as they suffered two defeats in their second set of Trophy of Legends games. Before that, they did win their fourth in a row, with English Premier side Rockhill Rangers dismissed by four goals to two. The former national champs had Brunei legend Azizul bin Ashmawi skippering them in defence, but the Birds got the better of a finely-balanced affair, and Chan Ze Han
's 85th minute header denied Rangers the comeback that had seemed imminent after Alexis Kavoukis' reducer.
It got harder, and Grilled's first slip would come against Rio de Janeiro club Furacão Tricolor, currently of II.4 in Brazil. Switching to a 4-5-1 that had former New Zealand international Steven Appleby playing off-right, they worked their way to a 4-1 win, driven by German do-it-all attacking mid Patrick Steckel. It was then do or die against Swedish IIe titlewinners Spartak, but they rallied from 1-2 down after great shooting by Yuta Nakakita
and Neeraj Muthyala
, to prevail 3-2.
, who got booked in the final minute for a desperate dive, couldn't get over the 35th minute penalty award that had handed Spartak the lead. "That was worse than mine, easy." he insisted, referring to Teemu Purola's questionable fall then.
Farmer Bunnies are also out of contention after a second loss, this to Italian Division Five representatives ThunderKickers, who hardly gave the Buns a breather for the first seventy minutes or so. Three-nil up by then, they would then let in two to Mushtag Al-Nameeri
and Nurlan Ablaev
- and then have Peruvian midfield powerhouse Naofumi Minamino sent off - but the damage was already done.
That upset aside, the Buns mostly cruised in their other two games, firstly against Dutch sixth division Klein Dabbelo, for whom defender Henny de Moor got a rare goal as consolation in a 1-5 loss. Austrian III.9 champions Mighty Sportfreunde were earnest in their positive approach, but this got them nowhere especially after Jordan Bertonazzi's dismissal for violent conduct left them with a man down and an hour to go. Kwek Yun Jie
and Ablaev polished off two of the frequent breakaways, for a comfortable ending.
Finally, Grilled International returned to the Heroes of 2017 Trophy tourney with an easy 3-1 over Swiss Division Five club GC Belp, who were sharp in their blue-and-white halves, but ultimately not enough to keep International down. An exciting three-all draw with Norwegian H.I. side Kolpino 78 followed, before a painful 0-6 thrashing by Romanian V.196 team Andechs.