|Season 60||D||1 - 1||League|
|Season 48||W||1 - 6||Tournament (Playoffs)|
|Season 48||D||2 - 2||Tournament (Group Phase)|
Arctu Do Unto
Yuta Home Triumph
Arcturules became the first club to shut the Birds out in the league for a season, since Pudgy Penguins did the same in the top flight, but what will worry Djan Bacelar
more than the defeat was the manner of it. Grilled were utterly toothless at Arcturus Starworks, even considering the hosts' perceptive soak-and-strike strategy, and what could have been a successful encroachment several years back turned into an ineffectual battering of heads against the wall.
Grilled were hardly going to dismiss Arcturules after they had come away with a very credible draw from The Cooking Pot, but there were few signs that they had learnt much if anything from that meeting. Of course, the lack of a back-up plan had been a hallmark of Birds sides in recent times, and with a full squad to pick from, some were still hopeful that Grilled's finest could somehow pick apart one of II.1's stingiest defences.
Unfortunately, Mohd Safri bin Mohd Kassim
in particular was just not the player he had once been, as the soon-to-be 36 year-old was all too often second-best to balls that he would once have bullied defenders into conceding. Quite ironically, his adversary was only too often former Grilled Young Player of the Season Yuta Nakakita, who tellingly beat Mohd Safri decisively at his own game - in the air - on several occasions.
It quickly became depressingly obvious that Grilled were not making any headway against Arcturules' iron defence, and the hosts' superior fitness shortly after began to tell. After the combative Yves-Marie Prat got booked for charging fellow Frenchman Clément Meyer
, Arcturules anticipated the free-kick and launched a direct counter down the left, with Cristiano Fuso putting it barely wide.
The expectant home fans didn't have much longer to wait, however. Wong Ping Shun
was doing his best to get the Grilled machine going, but this left a lot of room for current national winger Tay Jun Nie to operate. Never at his most comfortable against pace, Wong could do nothing when Tay made his move in the 30th minute, and Hong Yi Soon matched his advance to tip his low cross past Wong Tian Han
Not only that, Clark Won
- whose standing with the Grilled hierarchy was already on tenterhooks after two red cards in a just-concluded tournament - made himself no new friends with his reckless late tackle on Hong, after he had already released his shot. To his relief, Máté Siska was prepared to be lenient given that a goal had already been scored, and commuted his sentence to a yellow card.
Tay proved in a class of his own down his flank, and soon made another goal five minutes later. Ling Fuquan
tried to keep in front of Tay, but was cleaned out by his uncanny acceleration, and Fuso would get in ahead of Gene Filippone
to deposit Wong Tian Han
The second half would scarcely be happier for the Birds, who were noticeably wilting the more quickly under the hot afternoon sun. Rinor Isufi
, who had not been wanting for endeavour, if with little reward, in the first half, eound up slow to the gates when Hilal Mohammad Tajuddin let slip a rare through pass, and Hisyam Soleh Zain gathered it with a disappointing lack of drama.
Yuta Nakakita then reminded Grilled fans of his presence, as he rose highest to power Luigi Porto's 56th minute corner in off the ground. Having grown from stints in Turkey and Poland before returning to Singapore at nineteen with Westral FC, he has made thirty appearances as a full-fledged member of the Arcturules squad in less than a season since his arrival, and from the cheers his goal garnered, he should be sticking about for a while more.
His former comrades weren't overly enthusiastic about Yuta's development, seeing as how they were now concerned with keeping the scoreline from degenerating into an embarrassment, and it took all of Wong Tian Han
's goalkeeping chops to prevent Teo Hui An from profiting off Meyer's badly-considered pass a few minutes on.
Arcturules were about content with their deeds, and continued making maintaining a clean sheet their focus; against that dedication, Grilled saw next to no hope, to the extent that Zhao Jing Wei
was reduced to hitting it from way outside the penalty area, with predictable results. In contrast, Cristiano Fuso was a livewire whenever he got the ball, and drove the Birds into more than a few dicey situations.
's late introduction made no impact on the status quo, but Grilled were all but handed a consolation in injury time, with Máté Siska inexplicably blowing for a handball on Karam Ezz, when it looked obviously like a case of ball-to-hand manufactured by Tian Yonghang
. Wong Ping Shun
however put it over from the spot, to cap Grilled's miserable outing.