|Season 49||W||2 - 4||League|
|Season 49||W||3 - 1||League|
|Season 48||W||0 - 5||Tournament (Group Phase)|
Zunwen Zips It Up
The one goal just before half-time by the bruising lu Zunwen
was sufficient to take full points from Tampines Phoenix F.C., who met the Birds for the first time since the 2-4 result at Phoenix Park in the league two seasons before. The two Tampines scorers on that day, Kwek Kok Tse and Hong Leong Ah, have both moved on, leaving only four from that day to start against Grilled once more.
One of them was, of course, former U-20 goalie Lu Yunyu, who should still feature for many years to come; Du Dongkai's career may be winding down, however, as his former number 7 has been passed on to Tengku Hazman bin Rasdi, who is himself pressing 32 years of age. Not that age by itself is a disqualifying factor for Tampines, though, as new recruit Fauzi bin Mohd Nor, formerly of FC ~ vile, was entrusted with the lone striker role at 34, with 138 official goals behind him.
Having just won six in a row, Tampines were at even odds entering the match, with some even commenting that those were generous given Grilled's instability at the back. The rain that had affected the Birds over the weekend had not stopped either, but they were slightly more prepared this time, and eked out a warning shot by Ling Fuquan
in the fifth minute.
Tampines, who had shut Ho Seh Liao out in the first round, clearly had that in mind again, and with Chow Ying Lee
and Tian Yonghang
soon slipping and sliding despite their change of studs, it looked as if they would have an easy time of it. Fan favourite homegrown sweeper Christopher Wang was nevertheless booked for a precautionary trip on Chow, but it nearly turned to their advantage as a quick counter saw Lim Keng Feng race clear, only to shoot straight at Edmund Kryus
The matchwinning strike ended up coming from a comedy of errors from both parties - it should have come from Zhu Changchun
when he received the ball totally unmarked, but he held it up not realising how much space he had, and lost it to the defenders; lu Zunwen
chanced upon the loose ball and made to spread it to Shiya Shaahee
, but caught his foot in the turf and sent it spinning over his incredulous namesake in the Phoenixes goal instead.
It might sound lazy to describe that as the end of the game, but that was what it was, with referee Shi Beishai seriously debating whether to let the game carry on for the second half as lightning crackled and the downpour intensified. He did, eventually, but by then the ground had been reduced to a paddy field.
With moving at much more than walking pace proving impossible, as was passing the ball more than maybe ten metres, the second half degenerated into a civilized mud fight, one which lu did however distinguish himself in. Pompeo Bellamoli
and Gleb Dorogan
didn't look all too eager to soil their uniforms when they were ordered on towards the end, but did their duty and protected the win.