Grilled's win saw them make up ground on Mia San Toa Payoh, after Real Balmoral recorded what was indisputably the upset of the season thus far. Jerry Lim celebrated his return by getting the scoring going in the 32nd, and Azrinuddin bin Hj Erywan appeared to have confirmed Mia San's winning pattern, as he upped it to 2-0 following a technical dribble.
Real Balmoral would tie it up in the five remaining minutes of the half, against all expectations, with Fausto Lasagni's unpolished but crucial finish followed by a vicious Manne Dehlfeldt drive, coming from a corner kick flick-on. Petre Canache completed the comeback just five minutes into the second half, and try as Mia San might, they could not avoid their first and only loss of the season.
The mental effect, according to Yuki Irie
, could not be understated. "It's very dangerous, the first defeat after a long stretch of invincibility." the veteran centreback said. "We've seen it happen here more than a few times, and Farmer Bunnies are still weaning themselves off the hangover. Something just goes."
This was not all good news for the Birds, what with them up against Real Balmoral next. Also, both -= Manchester United =- and Kim Tae Hee FC managed convincing whitewashes to stay level with Grilled on 12 points, and with Kim Tae Hee FC up against an officially in-administration Be Champions FC next, top spot is well and truly up for grabs.
could not help but express a tinge of regret at BCFC's fate. "Love them or not, they were part of the fabric of the local Hattrick scene, and put Singapore on the world map with their unprecedented Hattrick Masters success. It's unfortunate that their active legacy ends this way, but at least we were around to witness it."
Not far away, Farmer Bunnies conceded the II.3 title to Ropelearner FC after a 0-2 defeat at Impossibility Camp. Some hoped that Ropelearner might have been softened up by their Cup exit to the Birds, but it was soon evident that this was not so. Sofian Azfar
would be painfully laid out after bravely throwing his groin at a Koray Güner strike in the seventh minute, and the Buns never quite rediscovered themselves, as they fell to second-half goals by Marijan Grgeč and Piotr Widzyk.
"The pressure's off, that's what I can say." a morose Sikong Darong
managed. "We tried taking it to them with a 3-5-2, but perhaps we should have just stuck with what we know best. Ibrahim Zahran Al-Maashany
can't recover quickly enough for me, we need his incisiveness in attack."
As for Azfar, the prognosis was worse than it might have seemed. "The doctors were very seriously discussing whether he has had enough kids." Sikong half-joked. "But really, we won't see him back for some weeks."
Grilled International didn't manage to get the better of Manchesthair United FC either, although Didi Reidenbach
again gave a great account of himself with his 14th minute twenty-yarder. Giuseppe Cappello and Louis Coleman would then punish International on the counter, and while Ragib Banović
equalized in the 61st, Richard Paďour found what would be the winner.
Reidenbach would turn villian by having his last-gasp penalty saved by Władysław Różyc in injury time, but Roar Olaisen
refused to point fingers either at him or Fausto Perono
, whose final touch deserted him only too often. "It's unfortunate, but this wasn't an unfair result. There are some very tough matches coming up, and I hope the supporters will continue standing by us."