Farewell To The Champs
Grilled Birds played fallen Singaporean legends Be Champions FC for what could well be the last time, and sent them off with an 8-0 plastering, that balances out their all-time competitive record at five wins each. While BCFC were nothing like their glorious past, the solemnity of the occasion saw the Birds' away ticket allocation sold out five minutes after release, as their supporters sought to witness the closing of a chapter.
BCFC's teamsheet was entirely unrecognizable, with their professionals having departed according to the terms of administration, but it was perhaps fitting that they went out with a squad filled by local Jurong lads. That they were fierce too was not in doubt, as Florus Romijn
found out to his detriment, as he took an accidental knee to the groin after five minutes.
An embarassed Wei Lee Ping was duly booked, and Prokop Mottl
would replace the indisposed Romijn on the left. The outcome was never seriously in doubt, and Kalki Parvathaneni
all but guaranteed it by the 26th minute. He struck first in the sixteenth, and while a consolation was not totally out of the question, naive marking from Wilfred Yan meant that their first point surely wouldn't be forthcoming.
Mottl volleyed home for 3-0 on the half-hour, before Kalki received an unnecessary booking, for disputing a meaningless foul. The barrage didn't slow as Yuta Nakakita
and Vikram Mudaliar
both went on the scoresheet before the break, with Cyril Künzler
denied only by a world-class stop from Marquise Yang. It was all a bit too much for BCFC's courageous amateurs to take, and Wong Yeow Cheng would have to sit a dead leg out, towards the end.
Moey Xin Seng
replaced Yuta Nakakita
as captain for the second half, though in the unfamiliar role of central defender alongside fellow sub Hoàng Trung Quá
. It was of no practical consequence, as Chan Ze Han
duly caught up to Kalki on ten league goals apiece, with his acrobatic effort three minutes into the second half.
Chan wouldn't be able to add on to that, sadly, as he would be clattered by an eager Kok Chi Wan, 57 minutes in. The Grilled forward would confer with the physios on the ground, and they made the call: Chan was off as a precaution, despite the Birds having used all three substitutions. Not that they couldn't afford it, admittedly.
The match would resume at an almost leisurely pace, as dictated by Grilled, who were evidently conflicted about running up the score against such distinguished hosts. Vikram Mudaliar
would position himself as the man furthest forward, and he would make some space for himself with a reverse turn, as Muthyala's pass came in. He snatched at the shot, unfortunately, and Yang had only to watch as the ball ended up in the stands.
would be less wasteful in the 70th minute, and he didn't harm his case for a more permanent place in Grilled's rotation, with another nicely-anticipated goal - his first strikes since his first two starts for the Birds, seven seasons back.
BCFC's Kannan Thomas would try to buy some time for his team by kicking the ball away after fouling Kalki in the 83rd minute, only for Chu Xin Lee
to score from the free-kick setup. Chu might have added another in time added on, but he didn't hit the target in disorientating conditions.