Say What Liao
The Birds' tournament came to an end after they were outdone 5-6 by Ho Seh Liao in an edge-of-the-seat affair that had neither team manage to hold on to a lead for more than three minutes for the first hour, despite there being no less than eight goals in that period.
Grilled's gamble of placing Alex Fonseca
and the out-of-sorts Yvan Lefébure
as makeshift defenders and playing a high line backfired spectacularly, for although the Birds indeed had little trouble scoring, they had even less trouble letting in cheap goals - coach Niculae Stanca
recognized the failing, but could not find an appropriate window in which to make changes.
Ho Seh Liao, currently comfortably in the middle of III.14, kicked off in their accustomed 3-5-2, held together by German star midfielder Suphi Özdinçer, with the fast Eugénio Soares their main threat up front. The first to steal the show was however capped youth international Lim Tian Beng, fondly nicknamed "Chao Keng" by his fans for his relaxed style, as he tapped in the opener after an unlikely 38 minutes of frentic action.
It was as if the dam holding the goals back had finally broken, and Grilled would score on their next attack, a Paolo Iten
corner converted by Seytek Djekshenkulov
with a classic big man's header, and on their next one after that, which was Djekshenkulov again, displaying a better touch than most expected to squeeze it in from almost on the goalline.
It was an absolute ruckus at this moment, with it impossible to tell which set of supporters were chanting, as Ho Seh Liao quite astoundingly bettered Grilled's feat by scoring twice in a single minute to retake the lead - a wild backpass by Lefébure was snapped up and played to Soares to score, then Gábor Borák let flew an unsaveable bullet seconds from the restart.
Despite that, it was not over for the half yet, as Alex Fonseca
linked up brilliantly with the forwards, and bundled a leveller along the grass, to make it five goals within three minutes in a madcap end to the half. The entire stadium was positively buzzing at this turn of events, even though everything might as well not have happened, from a results standpoint.
That craziness appeared to have been exhausted when the teams trooped back on, as the game took on a much more tactical flavour until Tian Yonghang
hit with precision to put Grilled ahead in the 58th minute. It then all came flowing back, with the defence all at sea and allowing Liao Wangsong in unchecked to equalise, yet again, right from the restart.
Although Grilled began to see slightly more of the ball, this was more than offset by how weak their backline was when it counted, and the lack of a proper defender again came to the forefront six minutes later when Lefébure half-heartedly stuck out a leg and let Khairul Hisyam Ridwan skip past, despite being the last man. Unsurprisingly, Ho Seh Liao went back ahead.
While Tian played above himself again, it was all for nothing as Liao made it 4-6 in the 83rd minute, with the match seeing a two-goal cushion for the first time. Djekshenkulov rounded off his first-ever hat-trick coming on the inside of Iten with good timing, but it was too late to save Grilled's tournament.