Chan Plays Trick
The long-awaited new edition of the World Battle tourney began for the S-League with a sweep of the Guam II.3 league, and Grilled Birds did their part with a 6-1 win over Sevilla Guam. A spin-off by Swiss club FC Sevilla Panthers, as apparently honoured by their all-red kit, Sevilla Guam had however not yet progressed to being a real threat to a serious Birds side - bona fide stars like Pau Aiguabella and Mircea Ghidănac notwithstanding.
Grilled were looking to get back into the groove for the league, and would spare little effort here, with Kalki back on the left and Teo Chuan Yong
given a look on the right; their biggest concession would probably be starting backup goalie Manuel Vadalà
. Sevilla had likewise drafted almost all of their starters for this, with most of the attention remaining on their young English midfielder Immad Faruk, who was placed to the right of Aiguabella today.
The hosts were not half bad either, as they began the more strongly of the clubs. While probably still a level below this Grilled XI overall, their raw enthusiasm would more than make up for any gap in footballing attributes, and Kalki's weakness at tracking back would be Grilled's undoing in the 24th minute. Homegrown winger Terry Persson, no slouch himself, would not be catchable as he streaked down the flank, and a slightly-awkward delivery was no obstacle for Dutch forward Jannes Adams, who swung his right foot around imperiously to rocket a volley into the roof of the net.
That sure woke the Birds up, and they got their own back three minutes later, when Teo Chuan Yong
came in from the right side to tuck a routine shot past Saveliy Butakov. Sevilla were still hanging on, but all the signs were that their high-tempo game was unsustainable. This turned out entirely right, as Grilled would start keeping the ball a lot more as their opponents slowed. 2-1 came in the 39th minute, when Butakov saved a powerful attempt from Vikram Mudaliar
, only to be unable to recover in time for Chan Ze Han
And just like that, Chan would have his hat-trick before half-time, as the hosts fell apart. A quick restart after a bad Eddie Cases foul would see Bernie Egan
outrun Gonçal Llorens for Grilled's third goal, and it was a sharpshooting class from Chan after that, as he picked out first one bottom corner, then the other, from incisive forward passes; this feat had his very accomplished strike partners shake their heads in appreciation.
The second half began with a bang as Kalki Parvathaneni
came through to let rip a sixth, but there would be no further goals despite Grilled maintaining their supremacy to the finish. A trio of woodwork denials from Teo, Chan and then Egan set the tone, and with Gilbert Webb
not very interested in exerting himself after coming on for Panigrahi, Grilled seemed contest to rest on their laurels. Kalki himself would mellow after nearly messing Vittorio Gaverini up with a wild tackle in the 65th minute, and one would have to wait until injury time for Bernie Egan
to force Butakov into a big save, following that.