Grilled equalled their best-ever opening days with a 7-0 hammering of S-League parachutees Robbie Football Club, a feat not achieved for 33 seasons since the Birds began consecutive campaigns by the same scoreline against Winners 90 and FC Percosaira. The writing was on the wall after Robbie eyecatchingly sold off most of their stars in the off-season, while bringing in only four new faces in Ştefan Teodorof, Muhteşem Arsoy, Miele Tuytte and Robert Moraru by kick-off.
The four all started at the back, and were covered by local veterans operating as a second line of defence in a 5-5-0. The home fans at the Blue Planetarium were not overwhelmed, to say the least, but Grilled kept their head coach's promise and spared no effort in knocking on the gates.
With Zhu Changchun
still spending most of his day in a hospital bed, Seytek Djekshenkulov
was shifted into the middle and Gleb Dorogan
returned to the right wing, and the popular returning Moldovan wasted no time in setting up a supply line. Within seven minutes, he had managed to open it up for Chow Ying Lee
, who made the most of the opportunity to make it 1-0.
It was readily apparent that the hosts were just out to keep the scoreline down, with Arsoy taking a blatant yellow card in the 13th minute to stop Mohd Safri bin Mohd Kassim
from restarting the game quickly. That didn't help much, as the free-kick went indirectly through to Tian Yonghang
when it was finally taken, with the Number Sixteen likewise getting it past Yusri bin Abu Samah.
Yusri, former national goalkeeper and team head coach, was vocal enough with his new teammates, and managed to instil a measure of steel in his defence for a period that saw Chow shoot wide. Just when it looked as if they could continue indefinitely, however, Seytek Djekshenkulov
was charged down by Robert Moraru as he was bearing down on the Robbie goal, and the fiery Kyrgyzstani retaliated without thinking.
Referee Ji Yong restored order by booking Seytek even as he awarded Grilled a penalty, and Qassem Madaini
had no trouble putting it away. Seytek then channelled his discontent into a magnificent side-kick in midair that flashed right past Yusri.
With little doubt about the outcome, Grilled took things down a notch while dominating comfortably, with Dorogan in particular thoroughly enjoying himself. He would be denied a goal by Yusri's heroics, though, and his declining stamina could not be hidden as he resorted to pulling You Rongfu down after being burnt several times by the Robbie winger. With a second yellow looking increasingly likely, Stanca replaced him with Alex Fonseca
for the final twenty minutes.
Abdul bin Jantan
had gotten his from an intuitive backwards header by Mohd Safri in the meantime, followed immediately by a low screamer from lu Zunwen
that some thought had gone in, but had only found the side netting.
Madaini and Djekshenkulov found another one each as the hosts couldn't cope properly with their interchanging forward runs, and it was all winding down by the time Rashid bin Ahmad
made his cameo to help protect Edmund Kryus
' so-far perfect record.