Penguins Sanded Down
Seytek Lets Off Steam
Kyrgyzstani side Sand Penguins, currently third in the Jogorku Liga, drew Grilled's third-largest ever home friendly crowd for their visit, before going down 5-1. Their reserve side hinged on experienced central defender Matthes Jaudes and acting skipper Lesław Stefanik, but with Tian Yonghang
in the zone, they were never going to keep him out.
The excitable Choro Iris Ali could barely wait, and winged an audacious forty-yard effort at Hovaness Noubaryan
in the first minute. Penguins did start off strong, and a succession of slick crossovers by homegrown superstar Izzat Bektur Uulu brought gasps from the crowd. Pompeo Bellamoli
again couldn't tame his recklessness, and collected his second booking in three days with a bad-tempered bump into Jaudes in the fifth minute.
With Uulu drawing all the heat, Grilled left their left defence empty as Colby Awyong
went over to help, and Yuriy Anikeev cannily drifted into the vacuum left behind to put himself in great position for a reception. Jantoru Renat Uulu gamely played it to him, and Anikeev ran with it before putting it past Noubaryan.
was hardly going to get that go without replying, and Penguins' lead lasted all of two minutes before Grilled did much the same. Shiya Shaahee
had more to do, as Jaudes made it a point to keep close, but the winger had enough tricks to pull free for a cross, and Tian bent instinctively to flick it over Yosyp Maslov.
That marked a turning point as Penguins were put on the defensive, but they did do a fine job of suppressing the worst of Grilled's runs. Veteran Polish winger Filip Szaraniec deserved special mention as he clamped on Shaahee as few younger men have managed, though it did cost him a yellow for a last-ditch shirt tug in the 27th minute.
The stalemate lasted for the rest of the half, and Liang Liyong
came in at half-time as usual. Penguins stuck to their plan, and were still banking on one of their long-range shots finding the target, when Mohd Safri bin Mohd Kassim
found a flash of inspiration and slalomed through their back two to score.
The visitors had barely caught their breath when Tian came away with the ball on the edge of their penalty area, thanks to Aytkul Shamshiddinov being a little more calm than was appropriate in the circumstances. Maslow was furious at his centreback for that one, and had not yet cooled down when Tian nearly claimed another hat-trick with a sudden toepoke from Djan Bacelar
's outswinging corner. Gigi Corcodel was on the post and stopped it, only for Colby Awyong
to dash it in off his feet.
With three goals in as many minutes completely changing the complexion of the game, the coaches thought it time to switch tack. Luis Alcántara and Eelco van Raalte were cordial as they took turns informing the fourth official of their respective substitutions - American target man Leonard Forbes, with 141 competitive goals under his belt, for the visitors, and former Kyrgyzstan national U-20 player Seytek Djekshenkulov
for the Birds.
Djekshenkulov achieved a feat rare among subs when he drew some applause from the opposition when coming on, and he didn't take too long to leave a mark, with a trademark powerfully headed goal assisted by Shaahee eight minutes after coming on.
He then showed the darker side of his character when he went hard into forward Adam Luchinskiy from behind, with rather more venom than was appropriate for this class of match. It was kind of ironic given that Luchinskiy had been one of those who clapped him on, but at least Seytek looked suitably apologetic as Luchinskiy was helped off.