Moey Keeps Up
The Birds were well and back to winning ways, if probably somewhat less smoothly than possible. There were all the makings of a railroading over Geylang club Really McCoys, after forty excellent minutes, but poor mentality towards the end of the first half allowed the hosts back in it, and nearly cost Grilled dearly.
Weathering some criticism after their 0-4 opening loss to ArSenal U21 was followed by a cup exit against Ropelearner FC, Swedish head coach Fredrik Rönnlund decided to shake his right wing up, with Markus Fischler chosen for the first time in almost a fortnight. Local veteran Abhishek Iyer and young Scottish Number Eleven Colm Britton kept their places, with Teodovico Bahamondes again trusted to bring the bacon home.
McCoys were burnt from the outset, though. Newly-declared Young Player of the Season Kalki Parvathaneni
had been growing into his new hybrid forward role, and he didn't put a foot out of place, when Tian Yonghang
drew Nikola Atanasov aside for him on Grilled's first possession. Parvathaneni responded by placing it past Eduard Frani with sublime control.
That dampened the home fans' energy a little, but they were soon back in full voice. That didn't translate over to what transpired on the pitch, however, as the 36 year-old Iyer strained to keep up with play. It could have been two-nil in the 16th minute, after Ang Leong Kum
's cross was narrowly missed by both Moey Xin Seng
and Agent Schubiger before landing up with Tian, but Frani dove to make a memorable save.
Grilled kept on knocking on the door, and it was all McCoys could do to try and bar it. 25 minutes in, Hoàng Trung Quá
stayed up after a free-kick and wound up scoring his first goal since his debut thirty-three matches back, and Moey Xin Seng
then flicked in a header from fifteen yards in the 36th, to make it 3-0.
A repeat of their ArSenal U21 thrashing was definitely on the cards, with discipline moreover crumbling; Bahamondes hacked Jérémy Tarin
- making his full debut - down in spite, after losing out in yet another race, and was fortunate to stay on, with only a yellow card.
Then again, it was just this will to excel, that had garnered the Chilean 144 goals for McCoys thus far. Several minutes later, he would add to that collection from a corner. Estonian fullback Rain Lakspere's powerful shot from a corner kick played to the edge of the box was stopped by Neeraj Muthyala
at the post, but the ball had barely left the Grilled midfielder, when Bahamondes materialised to stuff it in forcefully.
, standing in for the injured Valentin Batâr
, had barely had time to remonstrate about the space that Lakspere had been afforded, when he was beaten once again. Throwing it out while still distracted, he tossed it right to a surprised Urbano Cazzani. It seemed to come off Schubiger's elbow in the ensuing mad dash, but this wasn't spotted by the match officials, and the goal was granted.
Back to having just a slender one-goal lead, Grilled could only hope that the second half would bring better tidings, but would find McCoys much more pumped up. Bahamondes was growing into a constant threat with skipper Markus Fischler finding Ang vulnerable to line-hugging dribbles, and Seng had to be alert to intercept several close calls.
They would get their break on the hour mark, shorter after Clark Won
received Grilled's first booking, for taking Cazzani down. Grilled's latest siege appeared to be going nowhere, as the McCoys' stiff rearguard action kept them from making inroads into the penalty area. This invited Yuta Nakakita
to have a go for it, after being on the verge of losing the ball, and a lucky slight deflection was enough to take it past Eduard Frani.
Revitalised by the goal, Grilled immediately sought a fifth to make sure. Goalscorers Kalki Parvathaneni
and Hoàng Trung Quá
were in the thick of those efforts, but some lightning reflexes from Cambodian defender Sopheap Som saved McCoys the first time. As for Hoàng, he was open for a free header after Tian creatively flicked it behind him, but was slow to connect.
Instead, it was McCoys who again drew closer. An ambitious diagonal through ball hit by Atanasov found Cazzani speeding away on the right side, and it turned out to be a good day for Agent Schubiger, after Hoàng Trung Quá
miscalculated the curve on Cazzani's cross. The Swiss midfielder lured Dan Seng
out, before shuffling in his second goal, and the McCoys' third.
This was not taken well at all by Djan Bacelar
, but given the options, he restricted his involvement to commanding his players to wake the heck up. More concretely, Mohammad Ramli Saliman
soon received instructions to tighten up his passing, as Grilled sought to waste away the remaining minutes.
This, as it turned out, was effective, and Grilled then ate injury time up with two substitutes. Tian Yonghang
certainly looked the worse for wear as he trotted off after passing the armband to Hoàng, however, and resting him should feature highly in Bacelar's thoughts.