|Season 51||W||4 - 1||League|
|Season 50||L||3 - 4||League|
|Season 50||W||2 - 3||League|
|Season 50||D||3 - 3||Tournament (Group Phase)|
|Season 47||W||6 - 3||Qualification|
Reeled In Speedily
Huhtamäki Goes Hunting
Grilled's title hopes appear to have evaporated in the space of a fortnight, after they lost another Jurong derby to leave conquerors Rapala FC five points ahead and four clear of all comers. Most clubs would be hard pressed to be disappointed after netting four goals, but the trouble was that the hosts banged in seven in yet another double-digit fiesta.
Given the history of this fixture, the odds for Any Other Score (i.e. more than nine goals) had inched below three at most bookmakers, with its usual return of near twenty assigned instead to a nil-all draw. The dreams of those who had staked their cash on that unlikely result were shattered within four minutes, as Finnish forward Joni Huhtamäki darted by Ling Fuquan
to score in a typically gutless Birds rearguard action.
Rapala had been actively rebuilding their squad, having just recruited local defenders Fauzi bin Wan Abdullah and Musa bin Abd Kadir in the past week, though neither started against the Birds with midfield tweeners Azri Haikal Ameer and Danial Maalik preferred. Former Arrogancae and national playmaker Shaiful Bahri bin Ahman made it in, unsurprisingly, and the Birds were at a loss on how to cope with his ability to make the right pass.
Though he had never scored against Grilled in his previous two games against them, Shaiful Bahri was as ever an expert at making trouble for the opposition, and he tied up Zhu Changchun
in the 22nd minute before lifting it wide to Daniel Leaşcu. Another former U-20 hotshot Pei Jingming was off in a flash, and got in behind Qassem Madaini
to latch onto the first-time cross before anybody else realised what had happened.
This was all getting a bit too much for the Birds, whose lu Zunwen
let his temper get the better of him in the 27th minute, and will now sit out the match against SpartanSG through suspension. Huhtamäki then notched his eleventh league goal of the campaign by cutting in from the other side, as Grilled's defence could not keep up at all.
The home fans were chanting that it was all over when José Alberto Nilo polished off a really sloppy fourth in the 40th minute, and few opinions changed when Mohd Safri bin Mohd Kassim
, making a 150th start that he would probably rather forget, chanced on a bad play by Maalik to steal a consolation. The Grilled star, who has gotten brickbats for not being up for it in recent weeks, hastened to retrieve the ball, only to watch the Birds lose it at kick-off and allow Tiberio Frizzi to cancel his contribution almost instantaneously.
That made it six goals already in a breathless first half, but the few fans who thought it safe to make a break for the washroom were deprived of two more. Ling answered through a well-weighted lob as Chow Ying Lee
stretched the Rapala backline, but Frizzi again nullified with a headed goal after the outstanding Huhtamäki put it into the box, on the stroke of half-time.
While not truly outside the realm of probability, four goals was still quite a margin to make up. Grilled did lift the hopes of the travelling support in the 58th minute, though, as sustained pressure yielded a free-kick on the right edge of Rapala's penalty area, which Madaini dropped past Kuki Ruivo, who was disappointed at not getting to it.
For those who were keeping track, it was Madaini's first free-kick goal against league opposition in five seasons, since he cracked one past CharlesCheesePie's substitute goalie Sebastian Schmidt in a losing effort in his first full season with the Birds. A slightly underwhelming record for a first-choice taker, to be sure, and Nilo ensured that Grilled would not be winning this one either, nutmegging Kryus for Rapala to keep their distance.
There was a fourth by Chow in the 78th minute as the home team finally sat back to protect their lead, and Ruivo had to come off after a wincing clash of shins with a teammate in the 81st minute, but neither that nor Rashid bin Ahmad
's late entrance made any difference to the status quo.