Birds In Crisis
Edged By Edbe
Grilled sunk to new depths as they lost their third league game in a row, all without having even scored a goal; the whistling from their own diehards at the end of the match was a sign that all was not well, even as a few wondered what could have been had Penati taken his sixth-minute chance.
Hosts Edbe FC looked eager to wipe their recent loss to CharlesCheesePie from memory, while Grilled would have been happy with someone scoring for a change. They fielded a largely unchanged team from their visit to Avengers Apocalypse, except for Penati returning to the wing, and ended up with an identical result.
could well have been the difference, as he was never shy about maintaining, as Grilled's plan to hit Edbe on the break showed signs of working. Behr cleaned up at the back, and Mausisa sent it straight up the left side, with the fleet-footed Italian ready and waiting. Edbe wingback Pierre-André Maton managed to slow Penati down, however, but the fans would have expected much more than the weak effort that came.
Things were still looking up for the Birds, as they worried the opposition defence with some neat passing. Maton, who had hobbled through Edbe's last league match, then had to be replaced by local teenager Bukhari bin Jaafar. This appeared a boon for Grilled, until Bukhari squeezed through on the left side in the 31st minute to scuffle in the opener.
Heads dropped and a few fingers were pointed after that goal, which was doubly painful as Grilled could well have taken something from the first half, and with the home side's highlight up till that moment being Kim Aagaard's booking for a mistimed tackle. The strikeforce went into overdrive, but Bögengang's attempts to up the tempo only managed to bring a yellow card upon himself.
Grilled's coach Han Lik-Tsun
was the very picture of a worried man as he paced up and down the touchline, and his scheduled replacement of Back for Kim for the second half did little to reduce his anxiety. Edbe's Gilbert Froidevaux could well have punished Grilled after Vukota again lost his man down the left, and the near-miss was followed by the hasty replacement of a displeased Penati with Han Kok.
The Italian's mouthing-off as he entered the tunnel turned out to be justified, as veteran forward Abdul Halim bin Jantan recorded his 92nd career goal with a killer strike that was too low and too quick for Valdir. The Brazilian reacted angrily at his defence, and one sensed that the Grilled dressing room will not be the cosiest of places after the match.
Smelling victory, the home team tightened the screws, and Janne Majaneva put in a professional foul to remove any hope of a comeback. Fabio Boedré and Ilkka Lindeberg could well have made the Birds look bad had it not been for the saves of Valdir, who was about the only Grilled player to come out with any credit at all.
The frustrations boiled over at the other end, with Chow and Safri seemingly barely on speaking terms. Chow didn't look happy after the latter walked over to berate him for not chasing after a lost cause late on, and reacted with a petulant kick of the ball into the advertising hoardings, and was booked to the delight of the home fans.