lu Comes Close
Grilled failed to make the double-digit mark in their opening Cup match for the first time in four seasons, with East Coast hosts Milou&Tintin nearly grabbing a memento for themselves. The one-sided exchange wound up being most memorable for lu Zunwen
, as the midfielder stopper scored his first brace for the Birds in 74 starts, and would have gone one better with a hat-trick had he been more precise.
The Milou part-timers were led out by 42 year-old chemistry teacher Qian Rongxiang, to whom fell the unenviable task of containing lu. It was scarcely better elsewhere, to be sure, but the home team kept their shape with an almost religious intensity, and survived without major incident for the first twenty minutes.
After that admirable accomplishment, the next ten would see them leak five goals, as the Grilled regulars got serious real quick. It was perhaps fitting that Mohd Safri bin Mohd Kassim
sounded the gong for the Birds, a feat he had not managed since an identical 9-0 win against werwinner back in Season 48.
Grilled immediately added another as lu Zunwen
went across and added heft to the right wing, where Zairo Anuar bin Mohamad had been making a valiant show of hanging on against Shiya Shaahee
. The arrival of lu completely overloaded the left side of Milou's defence, and allowed the shaggy-haired Number Six to put an end to a run of eight barren matches.
There was an encore of sorts as Mohd Safri and lu both scored again in the next six minutes, with the home side's initial belief deflated by that setback. Tian Yonghang
, who started all of the Birds' twenty competitive matches last season, and found the net in an astonishing three-quarters of them, then got the new one to a scoring start with a clever run to the near post after lu had come up the left.
The fixture decided, Grilled put their foot off the pedal for the remainder of the half, allowing Milou to get their act together and piece together a couple of interesting moves. However, their big moment would only occur after half-time, following lu Zunwen
's failed bid for a hat-trick that involved a fairly good whack from over thirty yards.
The Birds' defenders were still mostly, if understandably, half-asleep, and none of them were prepared when Yang Jingliang pumped a long ball the length of the field to Mazlan bin Ismail, a feat that they probably thought him not capable of. Senior engineer Mazlan then had the moment of his amateur career, leaving former international Qassem Madaini
on the ground with a deceptively sharp couple of turns.
Mazlan should have gone on to face Edmund Kryus
, but Madaini displayed his positional awareness with a sneaky trip on the forward, with both of them being just outside the penalty area. This outraged the expectant home faithful, who were even more incensed when referee Paolo Perucci didn't even see fit to punish Madaini with a card. Qian Rongxiang got the free-kick on target, but it was easy pickings for Kryus.
It probably goes without saying that Madaini was even less popular than usual when he got through to score on the hour, although the seasoned 33 year-old showed no signs of it bothering him. This was followed by Zhu Changchun
cutting in to make it seven-nil, with Milou's concentration again affected.
Madaini elected to blast it when the Birds were given a free-kick not far from the corner flag in the 72nd minute, and that decision, while selfish on the surface, led to the eighth goal with the ball bouncing awkwardly in front of the goalie and slipping through to Zhu. Shiya Shaahee
then rounded off the scoring by coming in at the right time to conclude Grilled's traditional warm-up.