Grilled Birds 2 - 1 AC Camuna
Tournament (Playoffs), Season 8707 May 2024 21:00 HTT
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Grilled Birds
AC Camuna
Orest Tokarz (59)
Evandro La Face (74)
Břetislav Hnátek (77)

Season 87L0 - 4Tournament (Group Phase)

On Camera
Some Silver

Grilled Birds won their first tournament since the Bovag Cup nine seasons ago, as they edged out AC Camuna in the final of the "Never trust in banana" TOURNAMENT. AC Camuna had, of course, thrashed the Birds 4-0 in the group stages of this fourth edition, and it was testament to Grilled's character that they put that all behind them, to win when it mattered.
There would be next to no change for the Italians today from the side that had handled Grilled so effortlessly then, with the sole exception of midfielder Gianpaolo Valsania sitting it out for Dutchman Freerk Noordermeer. Romanian head coach Andrei Penţa could hardly be questioned on this, though, from how this selection had sailed through the competition thus far. For Grilled, however, Tian Yonghang would go all out for midfield control today, abandoning actual wingers in favour of Chia Kwang Tse and Hwang Teck Fu tucking in... and a tactical masterclass it was, too!

Having conceded thrice within about twenty minutes in the previous fixture, Grilled's top consideration today was to avoid a repeat, but they need not have bothered; the additional tightness in the middle was exactly what was needed to counter AC Camuna's classic 3-5-2, and it was the Birds who asked all the early questions. Gústav Thoroddsen was lightning in a bottle as usual, as he turned Suriname fullback Xie Lijie inside-out, then outside-in, as he made his way inside after ten minutes - only to pull his shot marginally wide.

Indeed, it could have been 3-0 to Grilled instead within some 23 minutes, with Chad Thach continuing his fine form from Sunday's league outing, and slashing his way past stiff opposition to come in with a toe-flick seventeen minutes in. Lorenzo Franzoni had very little time to react to that, but did so with some very fast hands. More would come from Grilled's mobile midfield unit with Lim An Keng next to make several dangerous-looking runs along the edge of the box, but his shots and attempted through passes would be blocked.

Half-time came after Thach teased a 43rd minute opener as he took his chance from about twelve yards, this itself coming after a yellow for Mohd Marzuki Khairul, after he went in a little too hard on Noordermeer. AC Camuna certainly had to be the happier at reaching the midpoint still level and unbreached, with Tian unable to hide his anxiety at his players not being able to make anything of their chances. On the other hand, AC Camuna had hardly created much either, so it was a question of whether Grilled's cup had run dry.

It hadn't, as it turned out. Creating clear opportunities remained difficult with Tanguy Seghers sitting in front of the AC Camuna defence with unimpeachable discipline, but for all his experience, the 38 year-old Seghers' legs were beginning to show their age. Grilled for their part did not waver from Tian's command to keep pressing centrally, and the lack of outside action seemed at times an elaborate farce. Mind games or not, the Birds' raw persistence would come off in the 59th minute, as Orest Tokarz shook free of Mehmet Kanun's attentions, to drill a screamer past former Italian national goalie Franzoni.

That would also turn out to be Tokarz's last act of the day, as Tian followed up on what was probably the preplanned substitution of Evandro La Face for him, but the Pole definitely went out on a high there. As it was, even this change would transpire to be well-advised. A fresh La Face would torment the AC Camuna defence along dimensions that Tokarz couldn't, as Grilled duly switched tack to try and exploit his considerable height. 74 minutes in, Chia Kwang Tse struck the jackpot in picking La Face out with a looping ball over the top, with the Spanish forward nodding it coolly to the inside of the far post.

That was two-nil, and right on cue with the Birds defence having just revealed some chinks in their armour, with Aw Keng Chuan and Ha Qicai caught mutually ball-watching. They had not fully recovered, or so it seemed, as AC Camuna kept themselves in touch a few minutes later. They would finally be able to use the width that Grilled had abandoned, with skipper Kanun bypassing Hwang on the right. The cross was cleanly struck, and of the several AC Camuna men who were prepping for it, Břetislav Hnátek powered through with a full-on header that Dimitris Germanakos couldn't stop despite it flying right past his head.

The messy aftermatch would see Mateusz Dorobek booked for shoving, as the Grilled defenders alleged illegal holding in the box, but the referee would eventually allow the goal to stand anyway. AC Camuna were however unable to muster up anything nearly as promising in the time remaining to them, and after the single minute of additional time allowed by the fourth official, Grilled Birds were the champions!

    Perfect Fourteen
    Rocket Agogo
    Kruta Guts
    On Camera
    Abandoning The Past
    Getting Away
    Four For Both
    Sobran Take Seven
    Bergervoet Bugged
    Fluminense Catches Cold
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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