Chow Gobbles Two
New head coach Djan Bacelar
marked his league debut with a bang, as he oversaw an outstanding 6-1 victory over Young Tigers, who had swept the Birds last term. The lack of Mohd Safri bin Mohd Kassim
, who was spotted chatting with past legend Maikel Rotteveel in the Birds' Nest VIP box, turned out not to be an obstacle, as Chow Ying Lee
oversaw the demolition job.
With Mohd Safri failing his late fitness test, Bacelar went with three in defence, slotting Rashid bin Ahmad
in at rightback to counteract the threat of Stefan Rådman, who had caused Grilled so much pain in the same fixture last season. It soon transpired to be a good decision, as Rashid successfully corralled Rådman away from the centre in their early meetings.
The crowd sang their welcome to Bacelar since the kick-off, and the Brazilian's team soon reciprocated. Some feared that Chow would again be bogged down by the wet grass, but the forward showed that he had picked up a thing or two about not exclusively relying on his pace; he sent Bergmański backing off with a lunge forward, before spinning sharply and striking it around him, outside goalie Yuan Qibin's field of view.
Wong Ping Shun
, starting in central midfield, then added another by the 17th minute, which was taken very well by the crowd. The Tigers were for once at a loss on how to handle this defensively-sounder Birds outfit, and Ling Fuquan
found the post as Grilled forged on.
This first half belonged to Chow, and after he drew a yellow card for Bergmański with another shimmy that left the Polish centreback with twisted blood, he scored another through sheer willpower. Chow seemed to have wasted a chance after slipping on his approach, but he then managed to hit it past Yuan with his wild flailing in the mud; he seemed to have pulled something in the process, but from the look on his face, he didn't mind at all.
Grilled continued in like fashion for the second half, and Gene Filippone
smashed a fourth in, before Ling Fuquan
flirted with a dismissal for his late trip on Charles Coiffier. Thankfully, nothing came of that, though Chow agonizingly missed his hat-trick goal after Woon Shun An
set him up for a clear shot.
It had been a fairly gloomy day for the Tigers fan who had made the journey to Jurong, but they had their moment as Portuguese favourite Aníbal Vieira blazed down the left on the counter. His first attempt was parried by Wong Tian Han
, but it only went back to Vieira, who lifted it over the grounded Wong on his second try.
Grilled were not overly concerned, and allowed Pompeo Bellamoli
to replace Abdul bin Jantan
immediately after that. Minutes later, they were again four goals ahead, as Tian Yonghang
won an indirect free-kick out wide, that Wong Ping Shun
thumped in and Rashid bin Ahmad
Wong then closed the contest with a demonstration of his dead ball skills, powering an exquisitely precise stunner wide of both the wall and Yuan, before Che Harun bin Sabtu
came on for Chow to see out the last ten minutes.