Weak Left Woes
Grilled's effort to make up lost ground ended miserably as they were flattened 4-1 by Cup-chasing CharlesCheesePie, as Han Lik Tsun's gambit of having Alex Fonseca
and Yvan Lefébure
play at being defenders blowing up spectacularly. While the Birds managed to hold their own possession-wise, the lack of cover on the flanks was brutally exploited by the ruthless home side, as all their four goals came down the left.
Contrary to Han's hopes, CharlesCheesePie kept little in reserve for the game, but Grilled had reason to be confident, with Chow Ying Lee
back from suspension. They might well have taken the early lead after former U-20 midfielder Soon Yew Yeng dealt a suicidal blind path that was taken by Mohd Safri bin Mohd Kassim
in his stride, and Bernie Vollaers was relieved to watch the incoming strike sliced barely wide.
While Ibrahim Rambli had something to do with putting Mohd Safri off, the same could not be said for Alex Fonseca
, who for all his willingness to stay back had evidently forgotten, or never known, the defensive basics. His usual practice of herding attackers into somebody behind him wouldn't work this game, and Yap Loong Dong kept a step ahead all the way to lift the home fans in the 29th minute.
Fonseca's torment came to an end in the 37th minute, when he pulled a thigh muscle, apparently from all the sharp turning he had to do, and Slavcho Tzonkov
took to the field - not quite soon enough to prevent Ng Wee Kiong from burrowing into the gap left behind and collecting his 196th career goal, however.
Grilled refused to lie down just yet, and Mohd Safri's determination meant that they would enter half-time in with a shout. The heavy pitch didn't stop him from putting a classy lob over Vollaers, with the swirling rain a help for once. Dexter Stacey
helped preserve the margin with a great stop three minutes before the break.
CharlesCheesePie did hedge their bets by giving Ng an early rest, which boosted Grilled's hopes. Unfortunately, that changed nothing about their effectively one-man defence, with poor Tzonkov left to do everything as Lefébure drifted up out of force of habit.
This would prove fatal once the hosts staged a mass assault, again down the left, and Ibrahim Rambli killed the contest off with a piercing shot right into the bottom corner. To heap yet more woes on, Seytek and Tzonkov both had their mobility curtailed after slipping.
Zulharisan bin Mamud put the finishing touches on a morale-boosting win as he coolly cut back inside Tzonkov before beating Stacey at his near post, and the match petered to a close with a pair of meaningless substitutions.