Dai-Lin Does It
Before a crowd smaller than any seen since the days of the Third Division, Grilled came good in a battle of survival with Western club extreme power that bought the home side some valuable leeway in the concluding fixtures.
Though it was a derby and a shady day perfect for soccer, only twenty-six thousand people arrived to watch the two stragglers fight it out. Grilled kept faith with the lineup that nearly got something off Team Singapore, against an extreme power side that has no trouble knocking goals in but unable to stop their opponents from poaching more. Since defeat would spell real disaster for both sides, the game began tenatively with the focus on keeping the ball. Dai-Lin ended that stage of the match when he got his first S-League goal with style, splitting Shi Wing-Chung and Bay Mulrain down the middle. extreme's Dutch forward Eward Veth made sure the lead did not last the minute, as he tapped in after Mathiasson rushed down a weak Grilled free kick.
Joel Stighult joined Stu Davis in the referee's book soon after for spitting, and Ola Martinsson
gave the home faithful some cheer when he put away a penalty, courtesy of an opponent's outstretched hand contacting the ball from a corner. The joy didn't last though as Veth replied two minutes later as he saw the rebound coming from Davis' shot. Harlow had no chance then. Grilled fans had their hearts in their mouths when German winger Olaf Thomas, a S$7 million transfer from Turkey, went down to a challenge from Alcántara on the line of the box. The referee was sure it was a dive, fortunately, and instead booked Thomas for that.
Grilled settled the issue quickly in the second half as Ulf Hjortlind
got into the act. After being near anonymous in the first half, he put his name on the scoreboard with some sharp finishing, the assist coming in from who else but Dai-Lin. The 31 year-old virtuoso had more to give, however. His marker Johan Lewbom was in great form, but Dai-Lin is quite something on his day. Hugging the touchline, he flicked his way past Lewbom, who had little choice but to block him, giving Grilled another penalty - as good as a goal with Martinsson in the team.
extreme felt the game slipping from them, and adopted a more physical approach that got local boy Mohamad Feriza bin Ib Berahim carded. Martinsson lost his hat-trick when he aimed a missile of a free-kick just a foot over the bar with keeper Tse Tuan-Anh out of the way. Three minutes later, Claes Månsson's uncanny no-look pass was squandered by Veth, who never saw it coming, then Aznan sprinted past a static backline only to trip while lining up his shot.
extreme set up a high-octane finish when Månsson stabbed a low cross by Olaf Thomas past Harlow's reach in the 81st minute, but Grilled, smelling the points after weeks of hunger, found ways to while the final minutes away to earn themselves a bit of salvation - and perhaps doom for extreme power.