Ten In The Tin
Semi-pro side Zarampahuilo FC were this season's cup-opening fodder for the Birds, who hit the double-digit mark with Bernie Egan
debuting. The Irish newcomer gave off the vibe of being slightly jet-lagged in midfield, but didn't do much wrong in midfield - not that much was required of him in this match.
Zarampahuilo had just won their Division Five league after a hard few years, plenty of which could be laid at the feet of dedicated head coach Jalen Hua. Despite not having much raw material to work with, he had forged a team competent in a flexible 4-4-2. Zarampahuilo's greatest strengths lay in their wing play, with Wong Kuan Jun and skipper Anas Syamsul Bahri Ashraful Naim boasting of excellent reputations against their usual opposition.
Grilled were not that opposition, however, and Zarampahuilo knew it, instead electing to frustrate for as long as they could. This lasted as long as twenty-two minutes, before Kalki Parvathaneni
forced his way past Lim Beng Wee to wreck Manoj Prabhu with an absolute beast of a shot.
Some bad news was to come for the Birds, as Cyril Künzler
would soon withdraw with a banged-up shoulder. José Luiz Velho
picked up right where he left, though, and Chan Ze Han
made it 2-0 with a neat lob. It was four by half-time, with Islom Davlatov
and Florus Romijn
piling it on against a Zarampahuilo defence that had mentally checked out.
The break did them a world of good, given how they again held out for twenty-odd minutes following it, but the spell would be broken by an awful misjudgment from Stacy Wong in the 70th. Apparently thinking that the coast was clear, Wong tried a backpass, only to watch in horror as Vikram Mudaliar
latched onto it like a greyhound coming out of the blocks, to score the fifth.
That was the signal to resume the slaughter, and Gilbert Webb
chipped in with only his third goal for the Birds, assisted by a slight deflection on a teammate. Yuta Nakakita
profited from another mistake, Florus Romijn
got booked, and finally Kalki, Chan and Davlatov scored in turn, as Zarampahuilo looked forward to their hot showers.