Kalki Raises Stake
The S-League began their entry to the World Battle tournament on a full sweep, with Grilled Birds doing their part, by smashing Jordan II.1 representatives SV Vampires Jordanien by six goals to two. It was not until the second half that the Birds truly started to shine, and they had to endure a rocky first forty minutes, as the Vampires defended and attacked as a unit with gusto.
While yet to win major honours, SV Vampires Jordanien have established themselves in Division Two under the aegis of well-respected Portuguese player-coach Domiciano Meneses, who has moreover just reached his century of career goals last week, in a 4-0 Ruby Challenger Cup victory over FC Amman. Leadership at the back has been supplied by homegrown rock Ibrahim El-Rusan, with the European veteran midfield pair of Mieczysław Karwot and Luciano Iadanza also accounted as a particular strength of the Vampires lineup. Meneses opted for a basic 4-4-2 today, despite having run a wing-heavy 5-4-1 with some regularity.
This wouldn't look a bad choice at all, from how the match initially developed. True, Grilled were ascendant early on, with an unmarked Kalle ter Berg
fluffing a perfect opportunity to score after all of four minutes, after Vikram Mudaliar
scuffed a pass across to him from a corner. In fact, the Birds would grab the first goal eventually, as Vampires were occasionally caught undermanned in certain sections of the pitch. Wilson Subano and Stéphane Le May were already engaged when Kalki Parvathaneni
raced between them, with the transfer coming too fast for either to react.
Vampires improved rapidly after going behind, as they strove to attack the spaces behind Grilled's tucked-in wide midfielders, as 36 year-old Belgian left winger Quint Droessaert executed brilliantly in the 28th minute. Salah Kamel
thought Gilbert Webb
was where he wasn't, as he casually cushioned a header backwards, only to watch in horror as Droessaert sped all the way through without any opposition. Massoud Dob
came out promptly, but the odds were against him with Droessaert having no lack of room to move.
The Jordan side would then take the lead in the 37th minute, and this time the contribution would arrive from the other flank, as Barbados man Devon Duncombe picked his spot perfectly from Ibrahim El-Rusan's long, floating pass out of defence. The Birds hustled, and were back at 2-2 a couple of minutes later, with Bernie Egan
relishing a cross to the near post from Kamel.
That would be just the beginning of Kamel's redemption, as the former Palestine U-20 star grew in stature as the game went on. There could be no complaints about his fitness, for one, as he eventually wore Droessaert down with his non-stop running, with Caicedo likewise discouraged by his tendency to venture all over. That brought Grilled's go-ahead third goal five minutes after the restart, as Kamel found himself entirely free in the six-yard box.
SV Vampires Jordanien were becoming a shadow of themselves, and Grilled turned to bludgeoning their way through the middle via sheer force - which was more than workable in the circumstances. There was no doubt how this would end, after Bhavya Panigrahi
threaded his strike into the bottom left corner of goal in the 70th, and the Birds padded the scoreline with goals from Chu Xin Lee
and Bernie Egan
again, after a bad flub on a gimme by Moey Xin Seng