Waragi Undeniably Raw
Tran Full Stop
In their first visit to São Tomé e Príncipe - an island nation off Gabon - Grilled recorded a hefty 7-0 victory over IV.20 side Club Waragi. Founded as an affiliate of Swedish club Migens Adepter, and a successor of sorts to the same-named former Ugandan second divisioners, they clearly had some way to go to emulating either.
Finnish head coach Jaakko Lindberg had only worked with the team for less than two months since its founding, and what his raw material lacked in tactical awareness, he tried to make up for with rough readiness. Three minutes had yet to go by, when centre-forward Robim Safrana flirted with a sending-off for his two-footed lunge at Hoàng Trung Quá
. Only happenstance helped Hoàng from suffering a grevious injury, which Portuguese referee João Carlos Barata apparently took into account, in not sending Safrana off directly.
Having won every league match - admittedly against semi-pro opposition - since their inception, Club Waragi did not want for self-confidence, and yet their limitations were also manifest against a makeshift and largely Birds reserve XI. This was not helped by their starting a man short due to registration issues, and they would hold on for no more than twenty minutes before Bilal Mohammad Harun
bombed down the left. Agnelo Ferreira Faria came out to meet Bilal as the midfielder passed his last defender, only for himself to be rounded.
It turned out to be a spiritual repeat of Grilled's last outing against Robbie Football Club, as they sunk Club Waragi in the first half. Gilbert Webb
went some way towards answering for his recent poor form with a tidy chip in the 28th minute for the second, while 24 year-old utility backup Dante Tran
demonstrated hunger, hunting Juan José Illescas Duero down three minutes later to earn a third.
There would be two more goals in the five minutes before the half-time whistle. Armindo Vicente Trovão was the hosts' standout in central midfield, but he would be bypassed as Grilled redirected their efforts to the flanks. Prokop Mottl
cut in sharply from the left, and inside Club Waragi captain Juan José Illescas Duero, to find the fourth from an improvised overhead strike, before Moey Xin Seng
deposited José Luiz Velho
's cross in a far more staid manner.
The break saw Hoàng and goalie Krystian Rykowski
- the latter having barely touched the ball - go off for Mohd Jafni Abdul Majid
and Dan Seng
respectively, and they had barely found their seats behind the dugout, when José Luiz Velho
upped Grilled's score further. Webb went long from his own final third, and a missed header by Amadeu José dos Ramos saw Chu Xin Lee
ready to serve it up to Velho on a plate.
The Birds held off slightly following that goal, but continued dominating possession, with Dan Seng
at times becoming the only player in the Birds half. Club Waragi were learning to keep play out wide when they could too, with Álvaro Ferreira becoming a popular outlet, as he danced past Mottl more than once. Those didn't lead to anything, of course, but the crowd appreciated it anyhow.
Velho would be booked in the 73rd minute for an unconvincing dive in the box, which he took in good humour. The Brazilian would then be involved in Grilled's last goal four minutes later, diving again to send a powerful header straight at Agnelo Ferreira Faria, leading to a corner as Rui Lopes Magalhães hastily dealt with the spill. Gilbert Webb
rose highest, Faria couldn't hold on once more, and Dante Tran
was there at the front post to capitalize.
Amadeu José dos Ramos felt aggrieved as he had been shoved out of the way by Tran, but the referee thought it well without the bounds of acceptable physicality, and dos Ramos would be yellow carded after he refused to drop the appeal. In the meantime, Grilled took Jérémy Tarin
off for Yuki Irie
, who barely participated as the Birds saw out the game.