Ghana II.1 club F.C.Cittadini attempted the defence in depth that had so often stymied Grilled Birds, but it wouldn't pay off this day, as the Birds swept past them with a breathtaking intensity. Centreback Gilbert Webb
had one of his best personal outings for Grilled, as the found a brace while shutting Cittadini's few attacks down quite comfortably.
Cittadini's main claim to fame would be their success in the Ghana Consolation Cup three seasons back, and most of the team that had defeated Agogo Small Boys then would be on show today. Azerbaijani Number Eight Samir Qaraşov was probably the most improved of them all, and the 26 year-old has won rave reviews for his massive work ethic, oft as Cittadini's entire central midfield. Swiss head coach Robin Servais has recently focused on boosting his front line, with Mongolian striker Temuge Temur its centrepiece for the last season or two. Today's match would additionally see the debut of former Kuwaiti youth international Ghazwan Al-Sahhab at his natural position, four days after his S$11.4 million move from Dutch fourth division side Cornervlag & Wimpel.
Alas, none of them were able to shine, not against the deployed might of Grilled's first XI. Cittadini were known for the speed of their counters, particularly down the right with Al-Sahhab complementing the Qaraşov-Croggon partnership, but they were hardly ever going to bring that into play against the Birds in such a mood. Instead, they were the ones taken on a ride in the 12th minute, when Bernie Egan
skinned Kwame Mensah with an elegant head-fake and turn. Heng Dong Chu
missed the connection by a hair's breadth, but Kalki Parvathaneni
took it back inside, and Webb slammed it home following some frantic defending.
then narrowly sliced an attempt off the top of the crossbar, as the Birds piled it on, and Senegal's ex-U-20 goalkeeper Tanor Foudal would give his defenders an earful for that lapse. It worked for a bit, but not for too long, as Grilled simply kept the ball too well. Conceding only one more goal - from Cyril Künzler
- and one yellow card - to Yaw Owusu - before half-time had to be an achievement, from how Kalki absolutely bombarded them. Cittadini could even have gotten one back, but Luxembourg international wingback Arno Hamen's half-chance in the 32nd minute was hit a couple of yards wide.
If Servais had any idea how to turn it around, he definitely wasn't showing it, and Grilled continued into the second half cranking up their dominance. In theory, current U-20 star Harry Croggon should have been getting past Heng Dong Chu
semi-regularly, or at least keeping him pegged back and opening up space for Cittadini; it wasn't happening, though, as Heng largely lived up to his considerable billing, and switched between defence and offense very savvily indeed.
was doing quite decently for himself too, and he would thrive with Mudaliar usually drawing most of the defence's attention. To be frank, Kwame Mensah had done a lot right, but it would unfortunately be his few mistakes that would stick in the mind. Another of these came in the 62nd minute, when he misjudged Künzler's lob, and only got a slight deflection on the interception. Sadly for him, this bamboozled fellow centreback Kwabena Kumah, and left Egan free to line up a stiff volley straight past Foudel.
It was four-nil three minutes later, as Grilled won a corner through Mudaliar's tireless chasing. Neeraj Muthyala
clattered Foudel - legally however, with the goalkeeper having pushed through a mob of players - and the ball dropped for any takers. Webb wasn't about to be shy, and he unceremoniously scythed it over the line on the second try, while on grounded to boot.
Mudaliar would be replaced by Chan Ze Han
with twenty minutes remaining, which was in turn followed by Grilled's fifth and final goal, as Bilal Mohammad Harun
struck entering the box, with momentum behind him. Prokop Mottl
then made a brief cameo, as Heng Dong Chu
departed in the 88th minute, on the back of a job well done.