RFC Run Over
Continuance Of Glory
With their cup commitments over after last Wednesday's celebrated Sapphire Challenger Cup triumph, the Birds were fully free to express themselves, and had the cooperation of a Robbie Football Club leadership that had prepared an experimental lineup. Grilled had already prevailed against them twice in this season, but both those wins were far harder won than today's one-sided steamrolling.
Player-coach Gianfranco Musoni had fielded himself at right wing, alongside a largely second-string selection, as the disgruntled home fans at the Blue Planetarium came to realize that their club had likely given up the ghost on this division - at least for now. The question was reduced to by how much Grilled would win by, even if RFC did have the seasoned duo of Ignacio Cebreiros and Martin Holm to delay the inevitable by a little. This would be thirteen minutes, the stroke on which Kalki Parvathaneni
zoomed clear to set cup final hero Chan Ze Han
up for an almost relaxed volleyed finish.
Chan wasn't resting on any laurels as he raced to retrieve the ball from the net, and speed would again be Grilled's salvation in the 21st, when Vikram Mudaliar
scorched a wrongly-turned Cebreiros to up it to 2-0. A few seats were emptied out as Cyril Künzler
made it three from a free-kick bender, Romijn assisted Islom Davlatov
, and Bernie Egan
banged Number Five home - all before the 33rd minute. Egan would be caught by Ang Chuan Chao as he landed, however, and RFC's 59 year-old veteran would barely escape a red card for his reckless late tackle.
Egan would take his time recovering, which was perhaps just as well, for he would have space to run into as the Birds pushed right back from the kick-off. Kalki Parvathaneni
was the ultimate beneficiary of that attack, after Egan released Mudaliar on the right. Musoni himself was drawn into a challenge after the fact on Mudaliar, for which he joined Ang in the referee's blacklist. Cebreiros' bad day then got worse as he was tricked by Islom Davlatov
for the Birds' seventh, and only excellent backpedalling from Ritchie Park kept them from finishing the first half eight ahead.
The remaining RFC supporters made their displeasure at having to bear witness to one of the most devastating forty-five minutes at the Blue Planetarium known, but it was probably more Grilled's own mistakes that kept them from possibly running up a new team record winning margin. That, and Park, who was fast becoming a point of resistance with his alertness in goal; Vikram Mudaliar
's stooping header in the 50th was in by all rights, but Park somehow stuck a big hand out.
would beat Park six minutes later on a decisive run, but it would be Ritchie Park's time nonetheless. Mudaliar would again be denied, with the RFC goalkeeper sticking a leg at his curler aimed towards the far bottom corner, and Cyril Künzler
would be the next to taste Park's determination, as he had an attempt from eight yards bravely blocked.
The hosts were not entirely without fight in them, but they just didn't have the tools to make a difference. Hot-blooded 18 year-old defender Liew Chuan Yao won some admirers with his forays, but his acting skills left much to be desired, as he rather guilelessly tried to make the most of a doomed dribble by going to ground. Referee Uroš Smolić shook his head sympathetically in dishing out RFC's third yellow, even as the over-exerted Liew removed himself to the sidelines to disgorge his lunch.
Another trainee in Chin Wan Teck would require medical attention after getting legally flattened by Yuta Nakakita
in a head-to-head challenge, and he would be replaced by Mohd Hafizi Mohd Hazmi for the final seven minutes. Yuta himself would soon follow suit, with his place going to Gilbert Webb
, and his armband to Neeraj Muthyala
. This was the prelude to one last Birds raid, but Islom Davlatov
didn't manage to create a good angle for himself.