Grilled Birds needed a way to recover from their Singapore Cup wipeout, which was presented in the form of Faroese challengers FC Hvalbingar. The just-promoted second division club had just won the Tarasteypið - their league system's equivalent of the Consolation Cup - twelve seasons back, though their fortunes have whipsawed somewhat since then. Their Italian head coach Alessandro Jabrane would place faith with their twist on 3-5-2 for this World Battle tournament match, which involved Laurenţiu Nedelcu overloading from right-back.
Grilled, of course without the injured Chu Xin Lee
, returned wingers Cyril Künzler
and Heng Dong Chu
to the fold, as they adopted a rather more expansive style than that from their ill-fated cup loss. It went quite well too in a fast-moving start to the match, with Moey Xin Seng
leading by example and looking far younger than his 31 years. His tie-up with Künzler was as productive as ever, even if his swing and miss at the latter's fourth minute cross was not his best moment.
FC Hvalbingar were pretty sharp themselves, and once the Birds' attempted quick restart after Edmundo Beloso's delaying of the initial free-kick came to nothing, they demonstrated just how adept they were at seizing opportunities. Künzler, for all his virtues, had never been the most thorough at recovering ground, and with Yuta Nakakita
having wandered away, Vincent Brénot was left by himself on that flank. Swiss midfielder Lionel Rénier signalled for the ball, was passed it, and duly pounded it straight past Massoud Dob
Dob was clearly distressed at not having gotten himself behind that, but Grilled would pick themselves up very nicely after going behind. Chan Ze Han
would have an on-target lifted strike clawed behind by Erik Alkema in the 17th minute. Künzler played it short to Bilal Mohammad Harun
, and after receiving it back, dropped it onto Moey Xin Seng
's head as the box began to clear prematurely. Moey guided it to the back post with the barest of touches, where it just about crept in.
The equalizer secured, Chan would milk the momentum for all it was worth, as the Birds sallied forth from FC Hvalbingar's aborted restart. Bernie Egan
pressed Edmundo Beloso hard, and the ensuing scramble right in front of FC Hvalbingar's penalty area saw Chan Ze Han
come away with the ball. He took a single look up, before deciding to go for the near bottom corner - which worked out with Alkema just a step too slow. 2-1.
The half continued with more action but no comparably exciting moments, and Jabrane's first adjustment would be to withdraw goalscorer Lionel Rénier at half-time, perhaps encouraged by a slight knee concern; German veteran Marko Kehre replaced him in midfield. Next, forward David Stana left for Herwig Valmartin, and Uruguayan Charlie Beatty took over dead-ball duties.
Beatty would be called upon to discharge those duties quite a few times too, though his best chance ultimately came from open play. Morten Johansen split the entire Grilled squad in twain with incredible vision, which allowed Beatty an unchallenged one-on-one with Massoud Dob
. The goalkeeper didn't bite at Beatty's first feint, and threw his hands out just so, to deflect the following shot.
That was as good as it got for FC Hvalbingar, as the balance of play shifted irrecoverably to Grilled's side, as the minutes passed. Moey would have an excellent effort stopped by Alkema in the 61st, but he kept it up, and worked his way into a second goal about six minutes from time. There would be a flurry of substitutions after that, and a yellow card for Vikram Mudaliar
, before the contest ended with Cyril Künzler
's free-kick high over into the stands.