Grilled rode their luck to emerge winners in a finely-poised contest at Kandang Harimau, with Mohd Safri bin Mohd Safri making the most of the slices of fortune that went his way. A tie might have been the fairest result as Young Tigers matched the Birds stride for stride on their home ground, but an untimely injury and some bad bounces killed them off.
The Tigers had shown their stripes by getting three goals off Grilled last week, and their fanzine was all about getting their own back. With important Belarusian winger Evdokim Telichkin unavailable, though, Carlos Escuteiro got his start at left wing, but the hosts were otherwise confident that their usual XI would do the job.
Grilled kept with Hovaness Noubaryan
in goal and Wong Ping Shun
smack in the center, and while Wong was tidy enough, it was clear that he still lacked a certain something as a team's control tower. There were plenty of advances but few real threats, until Constantino Largoet pulled up clutching his hamstring in the 23rd minute.
Having lost a second key player, Young Tigers had to be just a bit more cautious, and the difference added up quickly. Five minutes later, Escuteiro lost Zhu Changchun
down the left, and Woon Shun An
astounded many with an unexpected dragback-and-turn to lose substitute Csanád Bertóthy to open the scoring.
Tigers were not overly concerned as they had been in this position often enough, and had their turn when Rashid bin Ahmad
tripped the slick Donnie van der Ven severl metres outside the penalty area. Stefan Rådman smacked an impressive free-kick over Grilled's wall, and it beat Noubaryan handily but didn't drop sufficiently at the end.
van der Ven can give as well as he takes, though, going by how he flattened Zhao Jing Wei
from behind in the 36th minute. That was completely uncalled for, and Uruguayan referee Diego Curuzú had to deliberate for a while before deciding to hold off on the red card.
The Birds hit back in a more conventional manner, down the left as they tested the unfamiliar Bertóthy-Escuteiro pairing to great effect. After heavy pressure, Escuteiro hit it back to where he thought Bertóthy was, but Mohd Safri was in fact there. The reliable hitman brought it past goalie Yuan Qibin comfortably, before rolling it in.
Mohd Safri effectively closed the game off when Wong Ping Shun
made as to float an indirect free-kick in, only for Abdul bin Jantan
to rush the ball low and hard at the near post. Mohd Safri cheekily redirected it with the inside of his heel for 3-0.
The home support didn't appreciate this turn of events, particularly after they had battled Grilled each step of the way last weekend. Nothing was doing it for Tigers head coach Camilo Fernández however, and he could do no more than again order van der Ven and Coiffier to step it up after Yuan saved a miracle lob from Chow.
The Birds continued doing what they had been all the time, and benefited to the tune of another goal when a though ball broke beautifully for Qassem Madaini
, who had been jogging slowly back after a corner. Anibal Vieira then sent in a consolation goal to maintain his 100% scoring record against the Birds, which finally gave the weary supporters something to cheer about.
The only blemish on Grilled's record was Tian Yonghang
screwing up a sitter in the 83rd minute, after Zhao Jing Wei
did the hard work in getting the corner to him. Tian could smile this time, but it would not nearly have been so funny had Grilled been chasing the game; in any case, his number was up, as Leong Wan Kang
replaced him for the final minutes.