|Season 53||W||0 - 6||Tournament (Group Phase)|
|Season 48||W||0 - 5||Tournament (Group Phase)|
|Season 46||W||0 - 3||Cup|
One Over Heaven
Grilled met Heaven Skys in an official match for the first time in twenty-four seasons, and made it through to face Ropelearner FC in the next round, with a slim 2-1 win. Heaven Skys had taken up long-term residence in III.5, having spent their last twenty seasons in that league, and the stability told. With their only loss this term being a 4-5 Singapore Cup exit to United Legends FC, it was understandable if the Birds support were wary, going into the derby.
As well they should be, it transpired. Having let in fourteen without reply in the clubs' three meetings, Heaven Skys would break that awful duck after barely four minutes. They matched Grilled in a narrow 4-5-1, with former national U-20 midfielder Ungku Ismail Jamal their clear spiritual leader, despite Sharif Samhari wearing the armband. Living up to his billing, Jamal would play havoc with Grilled's backline as Jack Yun's cross came in, and French targetman Fraj Mannaî nipped in unopposed to flip in the free header.
That was not good at all for Noubaryan, who exchanged some choice words with Moey Xin Seng
on how easily Yun had managed to advance. Grilled would tip the balance their way after this hiccup, but their opponents could afford to sit back, after their fortuitous breakthrough. Another could well have been fatal, and Chan Ze Han
would have to personally see to Jamal more than once, as Heaven Skys sniffed about with regularity.
The Birds' main dynamo in the offensive sense would again be Kalki Parvathaneni
, who would oft be deferred to by nominal left forward Bilal Mohammad Harun
. If Noubaryan wanted Kalki to practise his running at opponents with his midfield role, he certainly got all he wanted. The end product wasn't the best, however, as a weak drag wide in the 30th minute would be followed by an improved, but still pedestrian effort that Slovenian custodian Milovan Kuželički parried only slightly awkwardly.
The danger wasn't over, with Gilbert Webb
retrieving the clearance just behind the halfway line, and this time, the equalizer with forthcoming. Heaven Skys were indeed very tight in defence, and with no good outlet in sight, Bernie Egan
would chance a low-probability hoof from outside the penalty area. It would clip Germano Piazzese's heel, to Egan's delight, before spinning in just out of Kuželički's reach.
Heaven Skys' protests over whether the ball had crossed the line were quashed by referee Gerald Mayrleb, who definitely didn't endear himself by booking Du Chin Da for a late trip on Vikram Mudaliar
. The rightback looked ready to argue his case, but the wiser head of Samhari dissuaded him.
A largely ineffective Moey would be swapped out for Chu Xin Lee
for the second half, but the second - and ultimately winning - goal was all Chan Ze Han
's. Piazzese was once again the victim as he found himself facing down a Chan with no fear of failing, and the defender could only watch as he was rounded in the box. Homegrown golden boy Zain Azam Hariry came in with an all-out sliding block, but Chan had only to stop the ball, before booting it in as Zain passed his path.
It was a goal born of consummate skill and patience, and worthy of the vigorous celebrations that followed, as Chan flirted with a card for almost removing his jersey. There was still a lot to be done, as Noubaryan tried to impress upon his players from the sidelines, and the Birds thankfully heeded his call.
Chan's strike meant that it was again Heaven Skys' turn to press the initiative, but it would seem that their initial success wasn't casually replicable. Mannaî had not made it past Grilled's centrebacks for a long time, and their wingers found it tough going, having been pressed into defensive duties and chasing men down throughout.
wasn't about to wait on the left, and had a couple of nice runs inside, but both were too forced. One of those shots would end up with Chan Ze Han
lurking on the edge of the box, and the young star knew exactly what he was doing, as he lobbed it straight towards the top corner... only for the ball to scrape the crossbar, to Kuželički's great relief.
The match then got rather boring as Heaven Skys never quite gathered the resolve to risk it all, and with Mannaî completely isolated, any long balls inevitably went begging. It would be Grilled itching to pile on the misery, from a free-kick deep in injury time, but Heaven Skys would gain some measure of satisfaction by smothering Davlatov's final try.