The Birds rolled Palestinian Division Two side Vinakrik over on their home ground without too much of a fuss, but Woon Shun An
was left to feel the pain, as he was ruled out for at least two weeks after another hit to his unmentionables. Vinakrik's reserve selection and conservative 4-5-1 did their prospects no favours, and left them with barely a shot on target to their name.
Grilled were in contrast sporting their regular front-line, even if they tried out an experimental midfield consisting of Rinor Isufi
, Low Aik Jia
and Wong Ping Shun
in unfamiliar roles. Low soon revealed himself to be as threatening running at pace down the centre as the flanks, and German goalie Dakis Chaikalis had to get down quickly to block Low's 24th-minute incursion.
The goals would come in quick succession, Wong Ping Shun
varying his technique to bend in a free-kick with the inside of his boot, almost immediately after Chow Ying Lee
broke the deadlock with a blitz. Haroun Murqus was not having the best of days, being culpable for both chances.
The half ended on a low note, as Isufi's quick temper got him into a tangle with the scarcely less hot-headed Francisco Las Obras. Referee Anastasio García hastened to separate the two, but Isufi was not dissuaded, which led to his booking. Gene Filippone
then livened the match up with an unorthodox effort from twenty yards, which sailed tantalizingly close to Vinakrik's goal.
whistled a volley narrowly over once the game restarted, and then Woon's doom came to be - he appeared to have successfully shepherded the ball out for a routine throw-in, when Vinakrik vetaran Ziad Qeshany, in a laudable if unwise attempt to prevent it from going out, delivered a mightly kick straight between his victim's legs.
The shocked reaction from those in the stands told it all, and many were seem holding their hands up to their mouths as the stricken Woon rolled unabated off the pitch. The home team's medic, being closer to the incident, was onto him in a matter of seconds, and to the relief of all present, soon indicated that no irrepairable damage had been done. Continuing was out of the question, though, and Zhao Jing Wei
came in for Woon.
This did not however discourage Qeshany's teammates from going in hard, and defender Zain Haddad earned Mohd Safri bin Mohd Kassim
's ire with a potentially ankle-breaking two-footed slide, several minutes later. García gave the 18 year-old a stern talking to, and once the referee's back was turned, old pro Mohd Safri got a little of his own back with a warning clip to the shin.
Vinakrik's take-no-prisoners approach did work out, as last-moment contact threw Tian Yonghang
and Low Aik Jia
off what should have been certain goals, and allowed Chaikalis to make the saves. Chow Ying Lee
did manage to nick an unexpected bounce past Chaikalis in the 75th minute, but wingback Sulayman Abdellah Bany Hamad slid across the goalline to keep it out.
Mohd Safri bin Mohd Kassim
did finally add to Grilled's haul with a well thought-out chip on their next attack, which made the final score 3-0.