Huskies Play Ruff
More Moey Woe
Grilled Birds managed to find time out from the Supporter Week tourney to meet H.I. Liechtenstein-based Huskies Bremen, and they must have wondered whether they should have bothered, after team captain Moey Xin Seng
had to retire with a severe left calf injury in a crushing 2-8 defeat. That's not even mentioning reserve goalie Krystian Rykowski
, who lasted all of 27 minutes before having to be stretchered off with a broken knee.
It was meant to be a celebration, with special guest Ho Dong Ze
wearing the fabled Number Eighteen jersey in what might very well be his only game with the Birds. The Huskies were definitely not about to go easy on Ho's debut, however, and they sounded the clarions with an all-out onslaught from the get-go. Polish wingback Edmund Żarnowski had the ball in the back of Rykowski's net in 150 seconds, as he found the sweet spot on his connection with the ball.
It certainly didn't help that Brunei referee Liu Xuanjun made no bones about favouring the home side, which was the only conclusion that could be drawn from his giving of a toffee-soft penalty in the seventh minute. Italian forward Marino Bertoli took it himself for the second, and might well have scored again in the 21st minute, as he launched himself with abandon at Krystian Rykowski
's fumble from a very stiff Federico Rogier effort.
Bertoli instantly realised that something had gone very wrong, from how he sprang up and yelled for the medics immediately, and lo and behold, Rykowski's's leg twisted at an awkward angle. The poor veteran appeared to have gone into shock, and there would be a great huddling and administration of oxygen, before he was solemnly carted off long minutes later.
Bertoli seemed ill at ease, but far from shaken enough to claim another penalty, won perhaps a tad unbecomingly straight after the ball had been given back. Dan Seng
's first act would be to pick the ball out of his net, and his second act would be that too, after Tommi Turkia rose to nod Kevin Steffensen's cross home on their next advance.
, who had been furious before, positively exploded when who else but Bertoli laid into Moey Xin Seng
from behind next. Grilled staffers had to restrain him as Italian somehow escaped being sent off, and it was only after a considerable cooling-down that Bilal Mohammad Harun
was sent on in Moey's place. Yuki Irie
inherited the armband.
Perhaps now aware of what had happened, the hosts took things down a few notches, and Grilled tried to forget their troubles by bringing Ho into play more often, if to no great success. Yuki himself would go out for Hoàng Trung Quá
before the restart, and Grilled would finally land the counterpunch that they had been seeking; Bilal found Kalki Parvathaneni
with a neat redirection, and Kalki first-timed it past trainee custodian Simon Novak, who was starting only his second pro game.
Just when it seemed that the Birds had forgotten the events of the first half, up popped Bertoli to win - and score - a free-kick in the 58th minute. One could almost see Noubaryan's veins bursting at that, and it was just as well that Vikram Mudaliar
cancelled it out with his solo dash when he did.
The nightmare wouldn't stop as Bertoli emerged with a fourth goal in response, and he perhaps thankfully would depart in the 74th minute, after tweaking a muscle. Teammates with more presence of mind than himself tactfully directed him to leave the field from the opposite flank, thereby avoiding what might have been an explosive meeting in front of the dugouts.
Sensing his cue, the hosts' Japanese gaffer Shuichi Shimada took his time with a triple sub of his own, sending Crijn Locqueneux, Martín Araque and Curd Fiss on separately, one after the other. The German Fiss would complete the scoring with a tap-in having avoided the Grilled defence's notice entirely, which brought a yellow card onto Islom Davlatov