Gulled In The Nest
Majercsik Prys Apart
Norwegian Division Six hosts Nidaros Seagulls would serve up a reminder as to how far Grilled's next generation had to go, as the stout harrying defense that they put up proved more than sufficient to come away with a clear win. The Birds' reserves were flashy but wasteful, and could not mask their tactical deficits with reckless risk-taking.
The Seagulls had just been knocked out of the Emerald Challenger Cup by Tegneserielaget, but prior to that had amassed the impressive record of twelve wins and a draw, stretching all the way back to the start of the season. Known for having a deep squad, the team that Karl Anders Bjørnsen led out could be argued to be able to give their first-choice XI a run for their money.
Grilled were not to be intimidated, however, and they soon found their opponents a good challenge. The fast-maturing Kalki Parvathaneni
would up the pace as he tried to punish Nidaros' 4-4-2 setup, which effectively gave up the midfield to the Birds.
The home side certainly knew what they were doing, however, as they made short work of Grilled's half-baked advances. Not discouraged, Kalki and company began spraying cross-field wonder-passes, which only made it worse. In stark contrast, Nidaros stuck to the basics, and were rewarded in the 13th minute, when Reinoud Lek's vanilla dribble-and-cross down the left was squeezed in by South African midfielder Liod Chisiza.
The Birds were not helped by Mohd Jafni Abdul Majid
's continued shakiness at wingback, as the 20 year-old did little to suggest that he might feature in the main rotation. Leong Wan Kang
got carded to bail Mohd Jafni out in the 15th, and he then nearly gave a cheap goal away five minutes later, switching off as a lob came in. It took some timely yelling from Valentin Batâr
to wake him then, and fortunately for his own reputation, he managed to clear the danger.
A brief purple patch after this saw Grilled equalise, after first serving fair warning through Remco van der Ban
's near-miss from a free-kick. An early cross by Hilal Bakhtiar
then resulted in an unlikely scorer, as centreback Rashid bin Ahmad
thundered in to beat Quentin Courteaux with a header to ground.
This didn't last, and the Birds were soon back to their undisciplined ways. Only some dogged tracking back by Clark Won
prevented Knut Henry Nygaard from going clear on the restart, and although Grilled maintained their possession statistics, it was apparent that they had few ideas on how to proceed.
Assistant coach Luis Alcántara wasn't about to provide instruction, judging from how he stayed - arms folded - on the bench. He perhaps meant this as a lesson of sorts, particularly for the younger set, who found themselves inadvertently passing it all the way back, out of nowhere.
This state of affairs would last through half-time, all the way to the 60th minute, when Johan Olenwald saw fit to send Donato Cantagallo on. This would coincide with the Seagulls' most urgent attack of the day by far, an explosive surge down the right that absolutely swamped Grilled's defences. Odd Tveito had too many options to choose from, and went for Reinoud Lek, who was steaming down the middle.
Alcántara responded with his own Italian, replacing Leong with Pompeo Bellamoli
, but this swap would hardly fix Grilled's basic problems; in a hurry to level, the midfield would try to force passes, which had the expected effect - none. Nidaros could pick their opportunity to strike back, and three well-considered passes saw Mihály Majercsik make it 3-1 with his strong left foot.
Zhao Jing Wei
came on for Rashid bin Ahmad
next, but he was in no condition to stem the tide either. With the unseasonal temperature taking its toll, Tormod Berntsen slowed down, unluckily for Moey Xin Seng
as it turned out. The big Norwegian lad couldn't stop in time after intercepting, and accidentally stomped Moey's foot.
This would be Grilled's third and last substitution, as Moey hobbled off, and Hariharan Prabhu
entered. There was little Prabhu could do as he witnessed Majercsik head in Nidaros' fourth, but the Birds would be much better served on offense.
Perhaps with a view to securing a good move, Low Aik Jia
had been relatively motivated throughout, and his time to shine would come against a winded Cantagallo. Never the most mobile of defenders, Cantagallo could not keep Low from going past him after the latter had anticipated a rebound, and the Grilled winger would showcase his deadliness, sliding it past Courteaux.