Eagles Rip In
Former national league and cup champions Syria eagles worked off the frustration of finishing second to the near-unstoppable FC Damasta by picking Grilled's reserves off 5-1. 18 year-old Mohamed Hindawi, a graduate from their U-20 division Extreme Rulers, had a memorable day with a first-half brace starting in the middle of a three-man attack, while Colby Awyong
marked his restoration to the side with a headed consolation.
The Eagles, who will not be registered in the Hattrick Masters for the first time in three seasons, brought a fairly strong midfield complement headed by Turkish playmaker Nuh Göray, while defending high and relying on English goalkeeper Bradley Imray to act almost as a sweeper.
On Grilled's end, new re-signing Gleb Dorogan
was left out as he had not passed his medical, despite no issues being expected, having played twice last week. Dennis Kong
was given his chance in attack, and Awyong returned to partner Hilal Bakhtiar
after sitting out against Princ Amin.
Despite some purposeful running from Grilled's forwards-in-midfield early on, the match turned out not to be much of a contest as the Eagles swooped with lethality whenever they found openings, which were present in abundance. Grilled's defenders were completely taken in by an unexpectedly slick crossover move by Mohamed Hindawi in the seventh minute, which left Dan Seng
The lead was doubled six minutes later, with Brazilian winger Fernando Endres scheming masterfully on a free-kick. His teammates flooded the box, apparently signalling a cross, but Endres bent a low pass around the crowd and to the unheeded Fahd Saleh Ajanji, a move far more easily described than done.
Grilled had no luck at the other end as their first real effort was powered slightly over by Tian Yonghang
, and Hindawi, more usually a midfielder, continued to win consideration for his attacking qualities with a calm sidestepping of Seng before cleaning up for 3-0.
The Birds' inexperienced strikeforce proved embarassingly easy for the Eagles' defence to read, and even though Pompeo Bellamoli
had the beating of them more than once, there was always somebody in the right place to stem the break. It was perhaps then obvious that any goal had to come from a set piece, as it did when Shiya Shaahee
hit a corner to a very determined Awyong.
Ajanji however cancelled that out two minutes before half-time, this time creating for himself with a skilful dribble that had Hilal Bakhtiar
Grilled entered the break 1-4 down, and the usual halftime sub of Liang Liyong
for Ling Fuquan
didn't help as much as it did last week, especially with Chow Ying Lee
noticeably struggling in the heat. Having already shockingly failed to beat Bradley in a fair footrace in the first half, Chow then ballooned a near-sitter, and was clearly not himself.
By then, Mohamad Igo had further increased the visitors' lead, as they targeted Bakhtiar down the right, and Ajanji was very close to a hat-trick when he let loose from just outside the penalty area. Chow then got handled easily by Clemens Wojner having only the defender to beat for a one-on-one with the goalie, capping a miserable outing for the striker.
Pier Federico Cherubini's robust style finally got him booked with five minutes to go, which led to Leong Wan Kang
's forceful rocket strike, which was in turn parried by the impressive Bradley. Bakhtiar and Liang went off for want-away Walter Ross
and new man Rashid bin Ahmad
, but neither had much of the ball before the end.