Jesús Saves Draw
Rapala FC threw a second-half roadblock in Grilled's tremendous start to the new season thus far, as they came from being three goals down to claw back a point in the SG Super Cup V group stage game. Chow Ying Lee
was all systems go after being forced to sit out yesterday's league match, hitting two to continue setting the pace in the tournament's scoring charts.
The Birds again were short of their full first team with Zhu Changchun
still recovering from his little accident, and Niculae Stanca
opted to experiment with a 3-4-3, after the relative success of a three-man backline against heimu XI. Rapala FC brought an unchanged side from that which blew SpartanSG apart, as they chased a maiden win over Grilled in the fourth meeting between the sides.
The trivia that there have never been fewer than nine goals total in this fixture was played up heavily in the build-up, so there were few taken aback when Tian Yonghang
nipped in to tip in the opener in the second minute after Rodolf Sauleda misjudged a clearing header.
It was all going to script as Chow Ying Lee
profited from yet another boo-boo from the Rapala defence within minutes, this time thanks to birthday boy Gabriel Daire leaving a weak cross for Jamaican goalie Harry Tebbitt to claim, only to leave a window for Chow to scoot in and scoop it over Tebbitt despite an admirably athletic attempt to salvage the situation.
Grilled then willingly retreated into a holding pattern as they had done against heimu XI, as Alex Fonseca
stepped into Abdul bin Jantan
's role as orchestrator. This frustrated Rapala mightily, with their forwards not seeing too much of the ball as a result.
It would get better before it got worse for them, as Chow restarted the match with a bang, dashing onto a flick-on by Mohd Safri bin Mohd Kassim
and slamming it beyond Tebbitt's reach with a wild breaking drive. The Grilled players evidently felt this was enough, as their passes took on a relaxed vibe.
The opponents sensed that their time had come, though on initial look Jesús Peñarrubia's reducer seemed little more than a deserved consolation, coming as it did after a chain of cleverly disguised runs around the Grilled penalty area.
The Birds had not fully comprehended the severity of that turn, when the lithe Spaniard struck again. Italian winger Michele Nanotti would take much of the credit for vaulting a sliding tackle by Walter Ross
, making it look easy, before sliding in a square ball low in just the right spot for Peñarrubia to take advantage of.
Stanca was out yelling orders by now, but they had evidently yet to take effect when José Alberto Nilo, fresh off his brace against the Spartans, twisted Ross left and right, leaving him on his butt, before finishing brilliantly. That was it for the crestfallen Austrian defender, who had his high from his first league goal dissipate rapidly, and he trudged off for Shiya Shaahee
to try and pull a win off.
Shaahee has however repeatedly proven himself to be more of a dependable provider of width and right-side outlet than an impact sub, and he ended up more or less anonymous with Rapala having their turn at hogging possession. Abdul bin Jantan
's late introduction brought no better luck, as Grilled split the spoils with Rapala.