Quah Saves Again
30 year-old Quah Han Kok
dug his first and only club out of trouble once more, as his early goal was enough to see off Division Two hotshots Kim Tae Hee FC and earn Grilled yet another season in the top flight. The quicksilver midfielder combined brilliantly with Ciro Penati
's considerable speed, in a raid down the right flank that caught the visitors' defenders flat-footed.
Kim Tae Hee FC, like Grilled, trusted their goal to a Brazilian, but Homer Beato had no answer to the power of Quah's strike, which flashed tantalizingly over his shoulder. This was in contrast to Valdir's shotstopping masterclass just two minutes before that, when local striker Low De Kang shrugged free of Árva and sent a piledriver goalbound.
Grilled were not about to take unnecessary risks with survival on the line, and taking a lead encouraged them to sit on it. They were happy enough to let the opposition take the game to them, which they did, to little success. Korean international forward Joon-Seo Seol, who had fifteen goals for Kim Tae Hee FC in their recently-concluded season, bothered Grilled's central defence considerably, but was never able to bring the ball into his ideal shooting range.
Grilled's defensive resolve was magnified after Sid was dismissed for two cautions in the space of two minutes in the second half. He apparently hadn't learnt his lesson after a distasteful two-footed leap into Seol, which admittedly won the ball, and repeated it on a different player right in front of the linesman.
Now down to ten men, Grilled's problems intensified as their hero Quah Han Kok
slowed down perceptibly under the unseasonal wilting heat. This gave the opposition time on the ball in the center of the park, but they were unable to make much of an impact as Grilled's strikers began to track back and cover. The rather uncommon sight of Rotteveel chasing Wu Tsung-Cheng down to the corner flag was on display, and Subri likewise spent much time in his own half.
This was not to say that Grilled were toothless, and they had the best opportunity of the second half from a counterattack. Few noticed Ciro Penati
making ready to sprint directly at the defence as Han Lik-Tsun
hit a flat ball out of the penalty area, and the young Italian blew past Hong Kong international sweeper Xia Lik-Muk, who to be fair was carrying a knock, with a smooth stepover. Homer Beato proved to be an insurmountable obstacle, but it didn't matter in the end as Quah's goal was enough.