Man Down Fiasco
Grilled blitzed Kampung United 9-1 in the fourth meeting between the sides, with Chow Ying Lee
's four catapulting him to the top of the tournament scorers' table, but the win was marred by Kampung having the play the match a man down due to an obscure regulation.
Kick-off was delayed as referee Abner Minor consulted with the organizers on what to make of Kampung's teamsheet, which listed former national midfielder Lin Dacai as a starter despite him having transferred to Dragons Elite contenders Jiangsu Jiajia a few days ago. Shockingly, it was confirmed that the tournament by-laws stated that the missing player cannot be substituted in this case, and despite the Birds' offer to waive the rule, the match officials stated that their hands were tied.
With that, the game got underway, and what was anticipated to be a close contest tilted heavily the way of the Greens, especially after their Malaysian head coach Ng Yong Jie decided to continue with their usual gameplan, which is even more offensive that Grilled's - while the Birds at least usually have their wide midfielders tuck in to protect the middle when needed, Kampung's wingers are notorious for sticking to their main job, which proved fatal particularly with a man down.
had the first bite, but dallied too long and was forced off the ball in the box, and although Kampung made up for their disadvantage with valiant overtime put in by remaining central midfielders Shay Yael and Savaş Gün, Grilled eventually got the knack of suffocating their opponents with calculated tight passing.
broke the deadlock in the 24th minute with good work down the left by a very active Gleb Dorogan
, whose return to match fitness is coming along nicely. Woon Shun An
lit one through the middle for 2-0, and lu then finished the game as a contest with another banged in, in the 39th.
Dorogan then overreached himself with a careless tackle that upended Beppe Bellori, getting himself into card trouble, but that only heralded a two-minute lesson in killing instinct from Chow, who lashed out in the blink of an eye to send Jori Davitsainen's save back beyond him, before closing off from no angle at all for the fifth.
Surprisingly, Ng made no changes at the break despite spending much of the first half stewing on the sidelines, perhaps figuring that they might as well go for broke. There was no chance in the overall situation though as his side were again largely outmaneuvered, and Tian made up for his earlier miss by shooting on sight, before Chow claimed his hat-trick in the 55th minute by inserting himself between the centerbacks.
Even that was not enough for the resurgent former U-20 star, as he got one more off the tired Kampung backline, using his best tool - pure pace. Woon then threatened to make it a double-digit victory with some snazzy ball skills to manipulate himself to the six-yard box from the edge of the penalty area a minute later.
Kampung however had enough spirit remaining to claim a consolation, after Dutch main forward Rieuwerd Erens put his body on the line to claim their first corner late in the game. Rais Dermawan bin Nik Cob, a former U-20 colleague of Mohd Safri and Chow, executed it flawlessly, and the transfer-listed Darius Menten forced it past Edmund Kryus
to finally end the Polish goalie's perfect record.