was conspiciously silent on the subject of Neeraj Muthyala
, as he mustered kind words for the rest who had fought the good fight. "We nearly preserved something under challenging circumstances." the head coach said. "It's not ideal, but football has its ups and downs, and today we lived the down bit."
Mia San Toa Payoh established themselves as the team to fear as they spanked Joker 9B by five goals to one, with national superstar Jerry Lim dominating with a hat-trick. Elsewhere, both -= Manchester United =- and Robbie Football Club shrugged off their opening day losses with 3-0 wins, if at terrible prices: United would lose no fewer than four men to vicious Balmoral tackling, while RFC had to take long time-outs for Liew Chuan Yao and Mohd Hafizi Mohd Hazmi, before Alf Lamont limped off in the 75th.
Farmer Bunnies did what they had to against JUtd, which was protecting the points against formidable opposition. Sikong Darong
's tactical options had been reduced with Sim's departure, and he eventually settled for Enzo Paolo Panzarino
partnering Ibrahim Zahran Al-Maashany
. This came good right before half-time rolled around, with the veteran Swede putting himself in Gyula Bori's way as a long ball came in. Ibrahim understood just what Enzo was doing, and peeled off to open with a contentious goal.
This saw Enzo off and Morgan Hu
on, as the Buns shifted to a 5-4-1, and although Ibrahim failed to extend their lead with a curler quite unluckily finding the woodwork, Brendan Leung
had been doing a number on Jérôme Gérard too. Still, JUtd would put their claim for a point in via Bep van Nood's clinical 78th minute finish, only for Wong Ting Yew
to power the Buns back into the lead through sheer will.
Wong commented after the fact, that selection for the national squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers had been on his mind. "We all know we have to impress, what with competition for spots these days. There are no free rides on past reputation!"
As for Grilled International, they collapsed miserably in Germany against unheralded Gute Freunde, whom they had dismissed with relative ease twice last season. Nothing clicked for the travelling International this day, however, and they would be thrashed 0-4, much of which could be traced to Gunnar Hügl's ability to hit unbelievable passes when the mood takes him.
It was a difficult watch for Tajit bin Mohd
, who was however also strangely detached as it happened. The International head coach was also uncommonly curt in his interview following the game, sparking speculation on why this might have been so.