The Danish Avenger
The name of Ulrik Adelørn would ring about Old Trafford, as the Dane installed himself as an instant hit, by scoring all four of -= Manchester United =-'s goals in their 4-1 demolition of Grilled Birds. Both teams went with much the same personnel as they had in the reverse fixtures, but United's home advantage proved decisive this time round.
Grilled had made one change, Islom Davlatov
in for the out-of-favour Vikram Mudaliar
, and it was easy to understand how the Uzbek had won his place. Equal parts helpful and selfish, but at the right times, Davlatov made himself Harald Mekker's biggest headache. Possession-wise, the hosts were able to put together a slight but critical advantage, and their enduring discipline when defending meant few openings available for the Birds.
They were not quite impregnable for all that, and Grilled would find occasional opportunity down the touchlines. Cyril Künzler
hung right at the boundary and was picked out by Neeraj Muthyala
in the 25th minute, and the Pole would whip it in with pace, without even bothering to dribble it forward. Nobody on United's end had expected that, and Islom Davlatov
could just about meet it with a stretched leg, to dazzle Luis Monteiro at his near post.
That only drove United to greater efforts, and truth be told, Grilled's didn't exactly look like holding out for long, what with some pretty egregious mix-ups. There wasn't much fortune involved when Jan Sułecki broke away down the right in the 37th minute though, and he would find Adelørn with a pinpoint pass, before Florus Romijn
could catch him. Adelørn didn't need a second look, as he flipped the ball casually over Algerian international Massoud Dob
, just so for the equalizer.
The Birds would have to survive a close shave from Ulises Can's impressive sprint right before half-time, but from how Moey Xin Seng
fired his teammates up after making the saving tackle, it appeared too early to count Grilled out of the running.
Chu Xin Lee
couldn't make the most of the few times he was fed the ball, sadly, and United would take the lead after 64 minutes. There had been chaotic scenes after a corner, and Dutch referee Jinno Slager would wade into the mess... and award the home team a penalty after long deliberation. According to the linesman, Bilal Mohammad Harun
had restrained Manuel Nastasi illegally as the cross came in. Hovaness Noubaryan
couldn't believe that decision, and was still protesting to the fourth official when Adelørn converted easily.
The arguments didn't cease with that, and things were still heated as Bilal and Yuta Nakakita
refused to accept Slager's judgment, hounding him by the step. Unsurprisingly, this didn't help Grilled's actual football, and Moey would be forced to bring a Marco D'Ugo in full flight down, before he broke through. The referee overlooked that, but couldn't help but book the Grilled captain after he made to delay the free-kick being taken.
All Moey's sweat was for nothing in the end, and who else could it have been, but Ulrik Adelørn to make it three? Justifiably pumped up, United weren't shy about getting the numbers into Grilled's penalty area for Sigi Tevreden's delivery; Gilbert Webb
headed it clear, but only as far as Adelørn, who dodged an oncoming Bilal before sighting the bottom corner from amidst a mob.
That was also Webb's last big contribution of the day, with Yuki Irie
coming in to try and make something happen with his experience, instead of usual supersub Chan Ze Han
. Noubaryan's hopes were dashed as Grilled were clearly put on the defensive by this point, and it was all Yuki could do to keep tabs on Adelørn and Nurlan Ablaev, together with Yuta.
United were going for the grandstand finish, with Sigi Tevreden for one overexerting himself worryingly around the eightieth minute, for which play had to be halted. He resumed none the worse for wear, happily, and the indefatigable Adelørn would crown a superlative exhibition, by rounding Dob for the first four-goal haul of his long career.