The Birds' trip down to the West Flanders region of Belgium left them with not much to boast about, as they were shut out by Division Five hosts F.C. Raversiede. Showcasing the defensive steel that had gotten them to the top of their league, Israeli goalkeeper-coach Mustafa Kassem marshalled his fleet-footed back five expertly, while Grilled's Valentin Batâr
lasted just three minutes before having to leave.
Having just completed his first full game between the sticks for the Birds, Batâr had yet to hold the ball, when he was wiped out in a chaotic collision between multiple players. Replays suggested that it was Rashid bin Ahmad
who had inadvertently crossed shins with the Romanian, but in any case Krystian Rykowski
had to be called in, with Batâr unable to even stand.
The slippery pitch probably hadn't helped, and it was to be one of the major contributors to the spate of almost-comical falls and slides that followed. Young Bulgarian fullback Filip Ivanov had his fair share of those trying to bomb forward on the right, but the assurance that he radiated each time underlined his selection as captain for the day.
Raversiede made what appeared to be a pre-planned double substitution after thirty minutes, and this would immediately precede - though probably not in any concrete manner - the only goal of the friendly match. Ivanov's dauntless runs would finally take effect as he made for the space that Hoàng Trung Quá
had left behind, and Veselin Videnov arrived from the opposite wing to scuff it past Rykowski.
That was not among the prettiest of goals that Videnov had collected in his career, but it was one all the same, and Nico Van Keer would shortly afterwards force Rykowski into a flying save, the inbound pass coming off Jasper Van Lierde's bulldozing run. Christen Andreassen then rescued his own slip-up from Mohammad Ramli Saliman
and Chu Xin Lee
in rapid succession, before Videnov blew the ensuing counter.
Grilled's trial of the 4-5-1 meant that their offensive power was rather sadly reduced, and despite probably Grilled's best midfielder of the moment Hariharan Prabhu
entering the fray for the second half, they mad little headway. Prabhu and fellow new sub Colby Awyong
did at least restrain the free-wheeling Ivanov, who was forced to be much more conservative once they were on.
The pressure contributed to Raversiede debutant Dimitry De Saeger tweaking his ankle in trying to escape Rashid bin Ahmad
, as the Birds built from the back. Their best chance came and went in the 59th minute after Leong Wan Kang
's heavily-worked effort was stopped on the line, though, and Hoàng's speculative long shot, on a return from Videnov, was nodded away by Dominic Dargent.
It would be the hosts who should have sewn it up, as Grilled's patience ran out quite markedly in the final stretch, but Ivanov and De Saeger would both be denied by a combination of Rykowski and his goalposts.