On The Tin
Mohd Jafni Flares Out
Grilled would return to Italy for their first friendly there in 26 seasons, that last a 1-6 thrashing by Viola City. They would be meaner against Tintarol F.C., also from Division Six, even if they were likely flattered by their five goal lead at one point. The hosts would restore some pride late on, but it remained a 6-2 pick-me-up for the Birds.
would blend a strong core with the reserves, as Jérémy Tarin
started on the left, and Chirag Thevar
found favour in central midfield. They would both be outdone by an increasingly-vibrant José Luiz Velho
wide right, as the Brazilian took after his illustrious heritage in tearing a sluggish Bruno Lucchesi to shreds. Kalki Parvathaneni
sensed the moment, and bombed forward to scoop up the big chance.
Tintarol F.C. were no mugs, having won their league last season while coming just short this time round, but Grilled's sheer ferocity in forcing their way through could not be contained. Islom Davlatov
knew exactly what he was doing when he bluffed his way inside with a little stutter-step to score in the eleventh minute. It was in contrast all blood and guts for Mohd Jafni Abdul Majid
five minutes on, as the 26 year-old defender threw himself at the ball, heedless of his own safety.
Mohd Jafni's blind courage would be rewarded with a goal, but the price was an abortive landing full on his left shoulder, as he found himself tipped over a stooping Federico Tamburrino. The Grilled medic went to work with his magic spray, but Noubaryan was unconvinced by Mohd Jafni's assurances, and took him off for Hoàng Trung Quá
That changed nothing about the situation on the pitch, and Davlatov rang up the register again in the 27th minute, piledriving it past German goalie Andre Vondracek from outside the box; Vondracek didn't appreciate that, and he would have all the more reason to berate his defence, when they left Moey Xin Seng
free to try an audacious lob next. Fortunately for the home fans, that drifted wide.
Though Moey's general form left much to be desired, the Grilled skipper did have his moments, as when he swung around to outside left before squeezing a cross in, as the Birds sought to set the tone for the second half. The unlikeliness of it all left Jérémy Tarin
completely open to do with it as he wished, but the Swiss unwisely elected to clip it well over, instead of laying it on to Davlatov, who had been calling for it in vain.
The baton was passed back to Velho, who had never quite ceased to look dangerous on the right. Lucchesi had been permanently pegged back due to Velho's enterprise, and as the Number 45 showed in the 67th minute, he didn't give empty threats. A rare attempt at an advance down the left by Tintarol would be followed by a counter led by Chu Xin Lee
, and Velho switched up cleverly to be in position for the finish.
Grilled were finding it hard to maintain their motivation by now, not helped by their own coaching staff urging them to stay fit for the all-important qualification game, and the hosts began to work their way back in. Fan favourite Lucio Rigolli would finally come into his own with a perfectly-weighted through pass when nobody was watching, exactly what Marco Chiani had been sitting on the shoulder of the last man for; Krystian Rykowski
was slow to come out, and was beaten Chiani while staying on his line.
Velho was on hand to reply at the first opportunity, as he made a beeline for goal straight from kick-off, but Rigolli would get the crowd fully on his side with a goal of his own, several minutes later. Young Benedetto Mancosu got the only booking of the day as he held Muthyala up just a bit too long, before Grilled's Italian veteran Pompeo Bellamoli
was given a sentimental appearance on home soil.