Grilled couldn't very well turn down a visit from reigning Syrian League winners ERYTHRURA GOULDIAE, and would entertain with a lighthearted 6-1 victory in this friendly test. The guests weren't taking this too seriously either, with French midfielder and captain Geoffrey Saidi the biggest name on show, and the matchup was pretty even until they went a man down.
Still very much in the hunt for a second title, ERYTHRURA were not about to risk their first-teamers, and Saidi was about as much of a concession as they could give. It wasn't entirely an exhibition side, that said, and there was plenty of rising talent in the mix, chief amongst them 20 year-old Italian player Antonio Martarello. Despite finding it hard to break into the regular rotation, Martarello has found himself a popular choice in midfield, and the coaches evidently thought his pace useful against the Birds, deploying him as lone forward in a 4-5-1.
As for the Birds, they brought along Bilal, Moey, Egan and Webb, which was probably too much for ERYTHRURA's selection on paper. Their exertions against Mia San levelled the playing field somewhat, and this combined with an understandable reluctance to go all out made the proceedings a lot more balanced. There were few sniffs at goal until the 25th minute, when Gilbert Webb
chested awkwardly, but still managed to bang it off the crossbar on the turn.
This wasn't good news for Grilled as the visitors countered with practised ease, and ERYTHRURA would go ahead from Arnau Torró's calm finish past Krystian Rykowski
. They could well have scored again on their next possession, with Romanian wingman Cristian Patentaşu leaving Prokop Mottl
for dead, but Arno Ueberau slid in too late.
There would be high drama as the end of the half approached, and Grilled's goals were only the least part of that. It would begin with hot-tempered Italian wingback Cătălin-Andrei Sărman's second yellow in the 38th minute, which had him still arguing on the touchline, as Jérémy Tarin
curled the resulting free-kick in over the wall. Sărman was still at it, when Moey Xin Seng
chipped Cosmin Deiac next, in a one-two combo that won't do the teenaged goalie's mental image of himself much good.
All this would fade into the background, compared to the absolute chaos that came next. It started when Dante Tran
was dispossessed on the edge of ERYTHRURA's box, to which he responded by going nose-to-nose with Ron Leftly. Before the referee could get involved, play had gone on, and Yee Jian Hui
appeared to be hacked down for a clear penalty. It was all getting rather complex, and with plenty of shoves being exchanged, there was every indication of a mass brawl in the making.
Roberto Sole had the unenviable task of sorting it out, which he did with a lot of help from cooler heads from the auxiliary personnel. As it was, the match was considered stopped after Tran's foul, and Yee's actions after being felled were considered excessive. With Mottl also spotted grabbing David Bové aggressively, this made it three yellow cards at once for the Birds.
Noubaryan refocused his team towards playing football over the welcome half-time break, and things returned more or less to normal. ERYTHRURA tried to bring Martarello into the game more, but Grilled had the more flexible approach, and Dante Tran
carried on his friendly form with a beautiful headed goal from Velho's cross, in the 68th minute.
Yee Jian Hui
then scored his first senior-level goal, and a spectacular one it would be, too. Never exactly eye-catching up to now, he would push the ball between the oncoming Bové's legs, for a splendid nutmeg that had sections of the crowd standing. Not done yet, Yee then faked Deiac out with an exaggerated wind-up, to complete a very memorable sequence.
Grilled piled it on, and Bernie Egan
was next, three minutes later, with an impressive run of his own. His miss following that would be Bilal Mohammad Harun
's gain, as Bilal tapped the sixth goal in, before some non-tactical substitutions from both sides in the final ten minutes.