Fresh signing Hariharan Prabhu
excelled in his first outing with the Grilled senior side, commanding from midfield as they hammered Suriname hosts Régia Paramaribo by eight goals to one. Paramaribo had endured a ghastly second season in II.1, losing all thirteen of their matches in the series, and there was little sign of an uptick in fortunes with young standouts Olli Sinisalo and Hardy Kuchta fighting a losing war in corralling the Birds' active offence.
Danish gaffer Samim Sarıer, whose tenure at Paramaribo must be under grave threat as his sixth full season at the helm comes to a close, was evidently not interested in fixing the club's defensive issues with his adventurous 2-5-3. Having previously had a fair run at Spanish club victor_vcf, where he led them to two sixth division titles in a tumultuous reign, Sarıer's suitability as a legacy-builder has been increasingly coming under question in the local press.
Unfortunately for Paramaribo's chosen, it would be a very frustrated Chow Ying Lee
who would face them, after suffering through having to watch his tired colleagues be slaughtered by Shining Lights from the gallery on Sunday. Chow appeared to share an instant connection with Prabhu, and the two made a sweet exchange in a 15th minute attack, that ended with Rashid bin Ahmad
sweeping Prabhu's blocked shot in.
Paramaribo, who had shipped an average of five goals and a bit in the league on average, nevertheless continued to ignore their back door. This was evidently only to be expected by the home fans, who evinced little dismay at Noah aan de Wiel being bamboozled by Pompeo Bellamoli
's clever feet almost immediately after. Low Aik Jia
then piled the heat on the hapless Dutch wingback with his considerable acceleration, which left Hardy Mathiassen totally exposed, and made it 3-0.
The home team were not completely out of it, and they displayed some decent short passing to rip into the Birds' own unconvincing left defence. Bryan Bourdier rose to the call after converted playmaker Demilio Grootfaam drew Hilal Bakhtiar
out of the way with his dummy run, but while Bourdier's attempt bounced just outside Rykowski's reach, the farsighted Rashid bin Ahmad
was there to patch up the hole.
Grilled then blew two great chances, first when Gene Filippone
had what looked like an easy conversion acrobatically saved by Mathiassen, and then on the ensuing corner kick, which Bakhtiar cleft onto the goalpost. It would be left to Leong Wan Kang
to get the fourth goal, banging it in after cushioning a short forward lob well.
Low Aik Jia
exploded on the restart to finish up his hat-trick, and indubitably spark more debate on whether he should be considered a default pick on the left wing. Certainly, there was not much to criticize given how he ran rings about Paramaribo's admittedly next to non-existent defence, and Leong Wan Kang
would further profit from Low's largesse, being served one on a plate in the 62nd minute.
Much of this would not have been possible without Grilled's continued superiority in midfield - which in turn could largely be attributed to Hariharan Prabhu
. Although Gene Filippone
was his usual reliable self, and Clark Won
hustled in his accustomed manner, it was the newest of the trio who supplied most of the ideas.
Fittingly, Prabhu would not depart without a little souvenir of his own, and he would put the finishing touches on a resounding Grilled victory six minutes after Leong's strike. Noah aan de Wiel, who was not having the best of days, tried to hit a long backpass upon being penned back by Remco van der Ban
, only for Prabhu to sneak in right on cue. Mathiassen tried to make the best of it, but was too slow off his line, and Prabhu got it past the goalie by sliding in early.
It would get a bit better for the Paramaribo fans, as they were reminded of aan de Wiel's value when he headed down a free-kick, awarded for Filippone's trip on Hardy Kuchta. Rashid bin Ahmad
tried to get around the Dutchman, who however was deceptively good at turning on the spot. Rykowski was faced with his first test of the half, and flubbed it badly.
Bellamoli then sent another effort wide, and Filippone finally followed Low Aik Jia
into the referee's book with a string of questionable tackles. The audience were appreciative of Hariharan Prabhu
's exploits, from their reaction as he was withdrawn for Sandy Fu
five minutes from the end, while Hilal Bakhtiar
helped to eat away the remaining seconds as he strolled slowly off for Joan Cisquell
to come on in time added on.