|Season 62||W||1 - 5||League|
|Season 62||L||1 - 4||League|
|Season 53||W||2 - 6||Tournament (Group Phase)|
It could hardly have been a worse beginning to Season 63 for Grilled, who were beaten 0-4 by Club Dinosauria at Fossil Park - and, to rub it in, they even arguably had the better of most of the proceedings. Football is denominated in goals, when it comes down to it, and the stark discrepancy between the hosts' clinical forwards, and the Birds' sorry bunch, counted for everything.
There were few signs that it was going to turn out like this, with the Birds at full strength - including new Number One Valentin Batâr
, who had opted to switch his jersey number right on time for the league game. The hosts had definitely put out a selection to be contended with, but it would be Grilled's Yuta Nakakita
who nearly got the early breakthrough, shaving the crossbar with his arcing header running through the middle.
It didn't even seem all that bad, after the red-hot Ma Jing broke his duck against the Birds, anticipating national teammate Cheong Tse Jian's exquisitely-timed release in the seventh minute. Even accounting for centreback Lee Wood's tidy ball-playing, Grilled retained most of the possession, and it appeared only a matter of time before their equaliser.
They had a huge problem, though, and it was the wastefulness of their strikeforce; the main culprit in this half was Rinor Isufi
, who messed up several great openings by overrunning the ball. This would result in a heated discussion with captain Tian Yonghang
right in the open, and in his defence, Tian had not been doing well with his heavy touches either.
The supply lines kept cranking, though, as the Birds continued to live in hope. Hariharan Prabhu
was absolutely bossing it in midfield at the beginning of the second half, and he set Ang Leong Kum
free in the 55th minute with an aggressive dribble inside; sadly, Gennady Dvorak
would go against the grain, making a complete hash of the incoming cross.
All these misfirings couldn't have helped the Birds' morale, and they would be shaken pretty hard when the hosts made it two. A free-kick from former Mexican youth international Miguel Ángel Gutiérrez de Solar's foul went nowhere, and some incredibly bad communication between Low Aik Jia
and Gene Filippone
saw Lee Wood waltz in to score.
Difficult times called for bold measures, and Djan Bacelar
immediately prepared for Mohammad Ramli Saliman
and Hoàng Trung Quá
to make an entrance, replacing Tian Yonghang
and Yuki Irie
at a stroke. The departure of both captain and vice-captain together might have been seen as risky, but then, it was not as if either had been all that influential, on the day.
Deinos gaffer Mark Goldman responded by sending on Boris Pedersen for Lee Wood, and Deinos carried on much as they had. That said, Grilled probably got the better out of these swops at first, with Mohammad Ramli Saliman
for one striking up some neat combos with Hariharan Prabhu
. One such exchange in the 82nd minute set Prabhu up with a clear line of sight to goal, but he tried to cut it too close, and wound up missing the top corner by inches.
The Birds kept plugging, and they got perhaps their best chance of the day in the 88th minute, after Radu Alexa had felled Yuta Nakakita
from behind. Goldman immediately took the Romanian winger off before referee Jorma Kohijoki could change his mind about the colour of the card, and Dvorak set up a first-class assist for Prabhu. Ciprian Maxim was on his toes, however, and denied him with an insane fingertip save.
Grilled's sad experience would then continue, as Gene Filippone
twisted his ankle mid-run shadowing Cheong Tse Jian, which was more than sufficient for him to mop an easy third goal up. To really rub salt into the wound, Ma Jing would then come up with a near-facsimile of his opener, deep into injury time.