Day Of Bs
The Division Battle tourney continued with Grilled Birds pitted against Campeonato Ecuatoriano side Angelito C.F., who had won their Division Two league thrice in their last four campaigns. While the biggest prizes had thus far eluded them, a Copa Desafío Esmeralda from seven seasons back was a promise of eventual glory, which was backed by their high-profile signings of Vadim Martov, Alexander Ziegler and Lazăr Busuioc towards the end of last year, for a combined total of some S$33 million.
It was then worth remarking that neither Martov nor Busuioc managed to even make the bench today, although in Busuioc's case, the experimentation with him in midfield had done him few favours. What did start was Angelito's grizzled veterans, captained by former Ecuador international Alberto Croy; with an average height of near 1.9 metres, it lent itself nicely to their backup long-ball style, although they were mostly practised in a modern short-passing 3-5-2.
Such advanced considerations would not have the time to take effect when Bernie Egan
trundled through in just the second minute, after an overzealous Angelito offensive had fallen through. Thom Huizen was entirely outdone in a straight footrace, and former Greek U-20 goalie Liakos Ntalavouras couldn't do any better, as Egan buried it in off the left post. The Irishman lent further credence to Grilled's centre-forward spot as he kept making the opposition defence very uncomfortable, and only an outstanding saving header from Ziegler prevented Egan from gaining a second goal with his magnificent 25th minute lob.
Angelito were not without their strong points either, and they had some success reverting to their usual Plan B. The high-ball route was of course more random than passing it on the ground, but on the other hand, Grilled's defence couldn't predict it as well. This was what happened in the 29th minute when Petter Nordmo knocked Sören Bloom's early cross down, and the lurking Isidro Falceto made the most of the unexpected bounce to get in ahead of Gilbert Webb
Efforts to engage Selwyn Quaedvlieg after this weren't as profitable, however, what with Chu Xin Lee
dedicating himself towards covering the Dutch striker, and half-time came and went without much incident. The second half would again bring a quick goal for the Birds, with Kalki Parvathaneni
looking more and more like a proper winger down the right. He bypassed the entire Angelito defence down that flank before laying a stiff cross low into the box, which went through to Bilal Mohammad Harun
at the back post for an unmissable tap-in.
It was 3-1 Grilled seven minutes later, as Bernie Egan
again scorched Huizen for pace, after being left alone with the 34 year-old. Isidro Falceto had made it his purpose to negate Egan, or so it seemed, as he converted Angelito's next advance with a scrappy header that fooled Massoud Dob
with its odd trajectory. There was a hint of handball there, but the referee confirmed the goal after consulting his linesmen.
unleashed Heng Dong Chu
and Cyril Künzler
with fifteen minutes left, perhaps as much for their fresh legs as out of any tactical considerations. They didn't let him down, though their indifferent form remained painfully obvious. Still, it was more than enough to take Grilled over the line, and Bhavya Panigrahi
added a fourth in injury time as Angelito chased the draw in high-risk fashion.