Bacelar Gets Off
The Birds again became the highest-seeded club to concede in the Cup when they defeated Dream Team Singapore 9-1 in the third round, but the travelling support were happy enough to celebrate their other achievements, foremost among them Mohd Safri bin Mohd Kassim
's eighth career hat-trick, Tian Yonghang
's fifth, and two for new Brazilian forward Djan Bacelar
Bacelar had himself confessed to being not in top condition for his last outing, and while six minutes was probably too little to determine whether he had shaken off the rust, the hosts were kind enough to give him a leg up. Rakesh Naidu pulled on Leong Wan Kang
's arm a little too blatantly, prompting referee Hugo Nicolas Ramírez to point to the spot. Bacelar was the epitome of calm as he sent Akhbar Ilham Burhanudin the wrong way for his first with the Birds.
Dream's intentions to get things back on level terms as quickly as possible were cruelly dashed when Tian Yonghang
went through their optimistically high backline in the tenth minute, in doing so extending his scoring run to an impressive six matches. The home side did keep on fighting, with Stanley Ping booked for ardent defending and Choi How Tong running himself literally into the ground, but Grilled dictated the game quite effortlessly.
Mohd Safri, having yet to open his account in the league after finishing last season as top scorer, might consider wearing his Cup boots next time - having gotten three in the past two Cup games, he had no trouble blasting a fourth in with some venom. Bacelar then tapped in from Chow Ying Lee
's fine seeking pass, to completely kill off Dream's lingering hopes.
The home fans did get their instant of glory when 55 year-old cook and captain Dennis Yu lost former national U-20 player Liang Liyong
at a corner, and finished Ping's deep corner. It was certainly one for the club annals, judging from how the hosts celebrated, and one could be forgiven for thinking that they had won the final.
With that settled, Dream actually toned things down somewhat, and the second half got going when Mohd Safri struck accurately from a set-piece routine to make it 5-1. This would begin a ten-minute period of plundering, which continued immediately from the restart as Tian swung in from the right to slot in from a tight angle.
Mohd Safri would then complete his hat-trick with another through ball right through a slowing Dreams backline, before Ling Fuquan
got his first for the season after a low pumped cross from Liyong passed through Grilled's overeager young forwards and fell to him coming in from the other flank.
Tian then got his third too, before Chow's attempts to continue his scoring run wound up with him getting carded for another rash challenge. Bacelar could have made it a trio of hat-tricks, but Burhanudin managed to predict where his free-kick would go, and the match ended with Lin An Chu
making his competitive debut in the final minute.