|Season 49||W||5 - 1||Tournament (Group Phase)|
|Season 49||L||5 - 6||Tournament (Group Phase)|
Grilled kept themselves in contention for a place in the SG Super Cup VII semifinals with a late rally to overcome Ho Seh Liao 4-2, thanks to efforts from Chow Ying Lee
and Tian Yonghang
in the final ten minutes. The Birds took their lesson yesterday to heart as they tracked back willingly at the beginning, but again lost it after going two up and had to rely once more on the strikers to make good.
They elected to start with just two changes from the side that drew against SpartanSG, with Abdul bin Jantan
returning to central midfield for Gleb Dorogan
, requiring Woon Shun An
to be shifted to the left, and Liang Liyong
given an opportunity at the back in place of Ling Fuquan
Ho Seh Liao, who steamrolled FC CherishMe 6-0 in their latest workout, adapted from their usual 3-5-2 to a 4-5-1 with Eugénio Soares both starting deep and drifting to the left. Big Serbian defender Kristi Idrizi was drafted in for extra defensive muscle, with slippery German poacher Lesław Grabarz making way.
Preparations complete, Ho endeavoured to wait the Birds out and strike on the counter, with playmaker Ma Jiade nearly executing the plan in the tenth minute. Fortunately for Grilled, they had some numbers in the middle, and Qassem Madaini
badgered sufficiently to reduce the goalmouth area that Edmund Kryus
had to guard.
Grilled's orders to play safe weighed heavily on the midfield particularly, and they had not yet created anything of note when Ho got their second opportunity, with speedy left winger Guan Yunwen off on a classic break down the left. Guan, who has been at United Warrior Team and Phantasm Hotspurs after leaving Koon Kings, and has featured for the Hotspurs against Grilled, was however unable to keep his cross down to the disappointment of Soares.
That did flow into a first serious attempt from Grilled, after Woon smartly spread it wide for Tian Yonghang
to follow. Tian somehow managed to play through Luigi Antonio Giorgiani, but couldn't make his mind up whether to shoot or hold it up, and wound up hitting a weak effort that went nowhere near.
The miss did restore the Birds' confidence, and after a couple more equally hopeless finishes, Chow Ying Lee
recorded his seventh goal in this edition of the competition with a lucky deflection after hastily pulling the trigger. Diego Armando Urtaza was lining up for a routine catch, when Indrizi flung himself across the path of the ball and made it loop into the far corner.
There was nothing fortunate about the one that followed, though. It was a flawlessly-planned corner, with Qassem Madaini
sending a flat cross to Seytek Djekshenkulov
waiting some distance in front of the near post, who deftly flicked it on to Mohd Safri thundering in down the centre.
Ho Seh Liao softened the blow with Giorgiani lining up an unsaveable free-kick that dropped like a leaf after clearing Grilled's defensive wall, and then managed to hold the line till half-time. The match restarted with a great stop from Urtaza off Abdul bin Jantan
, before Ho against restarted brilliantly for Giorgiani to level on a lightning counterattack.
With progress now a big doubt, Stanca figured that he had little to lose, and threw on Gleb Dorogan
for bin Jantan. It was hard to tell if this substitution led directly to what happened next, but five minutes later Chow sprinted past the exhausted Giorgiani to lob the keeper for 3-2.
Their hopes now in grave danger and with nothing to lose, Ho threw off their defensive shell and ventured forward, but this left far too much time and space for Grilled's forward line to exploit. Tian Yonghang
raced past an overextended backline onto a ball over the top by lu Zunwen
, and finished easily to effectively knock Ho out.
Ho Seh Liao did go for one final hurrah as they swarmed into Grilled's final third in a do-or-die gamble, but there would be no nailbiting finale in sight as Ma again had his strike saved by Kryus.