|Season 55||D||2 - 2||League|
|Season 51||W||6 - 4||Tournament (Group Phase)|
|Season 51||L||4 - 1||Tournament (Group Phase)|
|Season 50||L||0 - 6||Tournament (Group Phase)|
Silvestri Seals Fate
Grilled's long-held aspirations were again reduced to tatters, as Scallop Soccer Team whipped out one of their best home performances of the season to climb atop the Birds. The absence of Zhao Jing Wei
due to injury might be in retrospect be considered instrumental in Grilled's loss of coherence, but most of it was probably down to the hosts simply being top drawer in all departments.
Furthermore, Scallop were not all that far behind, and their morale was at a high after a rocking 3-2 away win against All Stars Team last weekend. Skipper Tarcisio Fulcini was a very picture of intensity as he led his blue-clad team out, and he exchanged a telling handshake with opposite number Tian Yonghang
before calling the toss correctly.
Without Zhao, Djan Bacelar
placed his faith in French backup Clément Meyer
, who deferred to Zhu Changchun
as the pivot. Up against Scallop's storied wing attacks, Bacelar opted to go against them head-on as both Wong Ping Shun
and Low Aik Jia
started, following the old chestnut that attack was the best form of defence.
It certainly panned out that way for most of the first half, as the hosts were wary of venturing too far upfield, lest they be consumed by the Birds' counter-raids. Such was their defensive organization that Woon Shun An
's miss in the 23rd was the first effort by either team, though.
Scallop's fears were realised soon enough, after Antoine Clinch was herded off by Ling Fuquan
and had his pass to Naicker picked off. Zhu ran with it at a furious clip, and after a fortunate bounce, it ran loose to Wong Ping Shun
. The right winger would not be dissuaded by Lee Ze Shi's shoulder barge, and found the net with a screamer.
Tian was first to congratulate the goalscorer, if slightly inappropriately right in front of the home fans, who took an instant dislike to the Grilled captain. This was only intensified when Tian scythed Naicker down without apology in the 34th minute, which led to a fully deserved yellow from Brendan Tubbs.
Still, Grilled were in the driving seat, but this changed after the break, as their non-stop running began to wear. Scallop contributed with some intelligent keep-ball, and they drew level in the 55th minute through Moris Silvestri, who ignored Ling's hopeful offside claims to slip it beyond Wong Tian Han
Silvestri was again bang on target four minutes later, as the lack of proper covering really told. Gene Filippone
was on a completely different wavelength from Low Aik Jia
as he sought to play it to the latter, only to discover that Low had moved far further than he expected. Silvestri didn't need asking again to sweep in, and accelerated by for his second of the day.
Bacelar was unimpressed with the miscommunication, but as mollified when Grilled recovered parity through Tian. The negativity from the crowd didn't affect the 29 year-old in the slightest, as he nipped just ahead of Clinch to force a header home from Wong's searching cross.
Tian certainly enjoyed that one, but he had barely had time to wind down his celebrations, when it was nullified at the other end. Grilled appeared unsure on how to defend as the Scallop attackers ran forward as a unit, and after some excellent interplay, Weng Rusong was able to slip it by Wong Tian Han
This was all too much for the tired Grilled players to take, and they soon fell further behind to an uncatchable run from Virgil Raita, who made Grilled's back two look like slowpokes before unselfishly passing it on to Kjetil Asbjørnsen to finish. A slightly questionable penalty, converted by Lee Ze Shi, then destroyed the Birds hopes of a comeback, and thereby their season, completely.