São Messi Imperial FC 4 - 5 [a.e.t] Grilled Birds
Tournament (Playoffs), Season 8229 August 2022 21:00 HTT
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São Messi Imperial FC
Grilled Birds
Vando Lopes (18)
Sebastião Carvalho Tavares (65)
Ernesto Torralva (80)
Moisés Laranjeira (105)
Lim An Keng (23)
Moey Xin Seng (29)
Bhavya Panigrahi (61)
Chan Ze Han (107)
Gandhik Chitre (108)

Fall Of Empire
Something For Everyone

Grilled Birds outdid themselves as they advanced to the quarterfinals of The Global Trophy, after a gruelling encounter with São Tomé e Príncipe II.1 side São Messi Imperial FC, that extended into extra time and yielded nine goals in total. In the process, the Birds had to fight from behind twice, but the reward was arguably worth it.
Imperial, an associate of Spain's Red Bull da Vinci FC, started homegrown international Hélio Lucas Ferreira alongside wingmen Sebastião Carvalho Tavares and Willard Lutz, as well as forward Vando Lopes, all with youth caps under their belt. German gaffer Josef Wermke was hardly indisposed towards splashing out for developed stars either, having just recruited Bulgarian wide midfielder Lyubomir Radev for close to S$12.7 million. All this would revolve about 39 year-old Kazakh coach-on-the-field Samat Akanaev, but it was not like this Birds team was short on grey hairs either.

On the Birds side, there would be few changes from their usual tournament lineup, although Lim An Keng would get the nod over Enrique Baena on the right wing. Damian Hutter would also make his unofficial debut without delay, which didn't start all so well when Akanaev managed to pull clear to meet a cross, in just the second minute. Fortunately, Aw Keng Chuan was there to be a nuisance, and probably contributed to the header drifted just wide.

Grilled would barely have a possessional advantage to fall back on today, and it was evident that if they were to pull this off, they had to make the most of every opportunity they got. This was perhaps why Chan Ze Han grimaced at his miss, after his flash of genius got him through on Kende Gyüre in the fifteenth minute. Worse, Lopes would score three minutes later, as he executed a spot-on first-time volley off Ferreira, that left Dimitris Germanakos rooted.

This looked problematic for the Birds, who were having issues keeping the ball, much less advancing it - but they had a break in the 23rd minute, as Chan Ze Han got tripped by Radev some distance from the box. Imperial nonetheless lined up a defensive wall as Bhavya Panigrahi stepped up, only for the regular set-piece taker to stab it short on for Kalki Parvathaneni, who slipped it behind for Lim An Keng. That did the trick, as Lim repaid Tian's faith in him, in powering it into the roof of the net for 1-1.

That seemed to change the tenor of the game on a dime, and it was now the Imperials who were looking uneasy whether with or without the ball. Their raw quality, especially in midfield, meant that they were seldom in real danger, but Akanaev's age would be an occasional liability, as when he was caught lingering in possession by nemesis Aw, in the 29th minute. Aw would ping it forward immediately, and Moey Xin Seng responded for the lead.

There would be few clear chances going to the half, which had Chia Kwang Tse replaced Kalki, for fresher legs in midfield. That didn't detract much if at all from the Birds' fluency at least as he reprised his youth team combinations with Lim, and the intermittent pressure would eventually pay off. Another free-kick would be won in a similar position, and this time Panigrahi went for his usual - and would be helped by a slight deflection off Moisés Laranjeira's head, for Grilled's third.

Imperial were too good to stay down, however, and they closed back to within a single goal within four minutes. Ferreira would get clear down the right side, despite Paulino Trindade's best efforts, thanks to his intoxicating mix of excellent control and honest pace. Trindade tried his hardest to hang with the winger, but couldn't stop the low cross that got all the way through to Sebastião Carvalho Tavares, rolling in from the opposite wing. The finish was crisp to the other corner, and it was 2-3 for Imperial.

It was now the Príncipe club who were calling all the shots, and they were perhaps unlucky not to have levelled as little as two minutes later, when Czech leftback Bogusław Tułacz missed the top left corner by inches, with his free-kick curler. They would get the goal they needed eventually, in the wake of Teo Chuan Yong's entry for Moey in the 80th minute. The match continued then with a long throw that got to Ernesto Torralva, and the striker would burst past Panigrahi, before continuing to the outside of Hutter, and somehow smashing it into the gap at the near post.

Extra-time it was, then, as the final whistle rescued an increasingly-disjointed Grilled team, and the Birds would make the most of the enforced break to gather themselves. This, together with some heroic tackling from Aw Keng Chuan when required, kept Grilled afloat for the next fifteen minutes... when Moisés Laranjeira hit it hard off Tavares' pass from the left. Germanakos got a leg to it but couldn't keep it out, with the referee signalling the end of the first period of extra time, immediately after.

If there were doubts brewing as to whether the Birds could recover, they would not take long to be resolved, and it would be Chan Ze Han to provide the equalizer this time. Much of the credit had to go to Bilal Mohammad Harun, though, as the midfielder twisted past one man, then two from the right, and then slammed one of his trademark rockets off the crossbar. Chan's preternatural spatial sense guided him to the right spot once again, as he made collecting the rebound look easy.

Imperial might have fancied their odds on penalties, but it would not get to that, as current trending hotshot Gandhik Chitre came up with the winner, straight from the kick-off return. He had largely flown under the radar before this, but his madcap dash to score more than made up for it. Imperial would muster one last hopeful long ball out to Lopes at the death, but Hutter would get the better of it, to enjoy a victorious debut.

    Giving Life To Goals
    Bakåt Pandemonium
    Ferzan For All
    Fall Of Empire
    All Else A Bonus
    One Hutt To Hut
    Tower Implosion
    International Panic
    Plastered By Paris
    Meyer Putdown
2016-08-01 00:37:41
anonymous: Thanks for the special mention :) I would just like to expre...
2015-08-17 18:50:02
anonymous: excellent read as always!- Yjorn
2015-06-13 03:08:41
anonymous: Rasha say
2014-12-14 16:56:39
gilbertlim: well, it seemed like that.
2014-12-12 18:26:33
anonymous: I didn't play a 4-5-2
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