Taiwanese visitors Taiwan Celtic drew some 4300 to The Cooking Pot, and went on to knock six past Grilled despite only holding about 45% possession. There could hardly be a more damning indictment of the state of the Birds' defence, even if Rashid bin Ahmad
was the only regular there.
The Celtics are currently leading their Division Two league, with good reason as Greek star turn Minas Askitis has blossomed in midfield, and English goalkeeper Barnaby Wadsworth keeping three clean sheets in their last five fixtures. While they were not on the plane to Singapore, Italian midfielder Dario Giangreco was eager to impress, and versatile captain Steffen Bröcking, who can play anywhere on the wing, started on the right for them.
Grilled stuck with their lineup for last week, with instructions to close down as far as possible. It started out well, as lu Zunwen
bounced back from his less-than-convincing outing on Monday to blast in the opener, with Tian Yonghang
feathering it through the middle.
It nearly got better as Grilled eagerly got the ball upfield, and Leong Wan Kang
bullied 36 year-old Kai Magleby with sheer energy to swing a tantalising cross in at Mohd Safri bin Mohd Kassim
. However, the loyal Xia Guanyuan had seen what was happening and bravely threw himself across the forward to throw him off.
Kai would get his turn, as he broke forward in tandem with Bröcking, and got the equaliser on a looping header over Hovaness Noubaryan
. The very next minute, Carmelo Fedencrini would give Celtics the lead, as he teased Colby Awyong
, enticing him to commit to a tackle, before blowing past and shooting fearlessly.
It was not that Grilled didn't have their chances, as they set-up the odd brilliant passing move, but Colby Awyong
would put it over then. Tian was no better, as a similar opportunity seconds later was sprayed embarassingly wide. This sudden malady affected Celtic's Roberto Orrù too, as he inexplicably skied his effort when bearing down on goal with nobody within yards.
came in for the second half, but was nowhere to be found when Onur Can Uzgör's corner kick dropped in towards Giangreco, who was ignored despite being an obvious threat. The Italian happily made the most of the lax marking, whirling his head about to launch it in off the foot of the post.
Grilled were quite clueless at defending set-pieces, as it happened, and their defenders naively all converged on Fedencrini when a free-kick was floated in after 65 minutes. That was an open invitation for him to knock it down for Xia, who gleefully stabbed it in.
Fedencrini was a right handful, and his bullishness extended to a quite feckless tackle on Rashid that was fortunate not to have broken something. Referee David Klietsch was quick with the card, but the restart saw Hilal Bakhtiar
play a badly-advised crossfield pass that was picked off and finished by Aldo Tondello.
Leong Wan Kang
did at least get another for Grilled as his innate eye for goal allowed him to get the ball off at the right time in the 77th minute, but Fedencrini was not done either, and got his second off Giangreco's intelligent through pass. Tondello was booked too, before Pompeo Bellamoli
and Gleb Dorogan
came on for a few minutes.