Mavs Learn Lesson
The Prokop Patrol
Sri Lankan newbies Sri Lanka Mavs, still in the first season, struck first against the Birds, but Grilled would hem the hosts back as they tired precipitously. 23 year-old Czech left-winger Prokop Mottl
kept his name in the news, with a hat-trick borne of a ruthless commitment to cutting inside.
The Mavs, founded by the same Japanese backers behind the third division Tokyo Suns, practised a 3-5-2 led by Polish captain Patryk Dudkowski. Together with local favourite Navaratnam Naidu, this made for a reliable heartbeat that had yet to truly fail the Mavs in their IV.35 league. As for the Birds, they gave Leonard Nguyen
his first appearance in a year, with Neeraj Muthyala
bearing the armband at right forward.
Seven minutes after kick-off, the home team were ahead, as Grilled found themselves completely overbalanced; No-one was in a position to stop Ferial Hajiar once Bandara Jayatissa managed to switch the play, least of all goalkeeper Krystian Rykowski
, whose attempts to intimidate Hajiar backfired spectacularly.
That would prove to be an exception in general, as Bilal Mohammad Harun
showed himself two levels above the rest in midfield, a badly out of sorts Gilbert Webb
included. The pleasure of scoring was not to be his, however, with his best effort a 17th minute stormer warded away with difficulty by Asikumar Dahanayake. Mottl would get going five minutes after that, as he scooted across the head of the Mavs penalty area, before lashing it beyond the young Michal Váhovský.
Váhovský's lack of experience was to blame for the Mav's second conceded goal, with Gilbert Webb
allowed an easy chip, as the goalie went at him far too hurriedly. The match would turn quiet for a while after that, before Yee Jian Hui
made it 1-3 on a weighted Bilal through pass, seven minutes to half-time.
Hoàng Trung Quá
took over from the underworked Jérémy Tarin
for the second half, which Prokop Mottl
kicked off in earnest with his second in the 50th minute. An interchange with Nguyen saw Mottl the furthest man forward when Dante Tran
retrieved the ball, and it was then just a matter of keeping Yusuf Fareed at bay, for long enough to set his sights.
would receive the only booking of the game for taking Dudkowski down, but the Polish skipper would gather himself together like a champion, and rush past a visibly-slow Hoàng to score. The Mavs would then make it up to 3-4 by the 66th minute, as Sam Dissanayake outjumped Mohd Jafni Abdul Majid
to a cross. Mohd Jafni alleged that he had his jersey tugged, but referee Tore Holtan would have none of it.
The grandstand was rocking when Dissanayake's header went in, and there were a few minutes when it appeared that the Mavs might actually pull level. Mottl wasn't having any of that, though, and frankly, the hosts were on their last legs too. Ruwan Cooray made to intercept the pass over the top for Mottl, but while he knew what he had to do, his body just wasn't up for it; the Grilled winger caught it neatly on his chest, and swung it past Váhovský's outstretched arms.
José Luiz Velho
padded Grilled's lead from the other flank in short order, and even centreback Mohd Jafni Abdul Majid
nearly got on on the action, as he dragged an effort about a metre wide from further than he had any right to. Mohd Jafni would then be replaced by Remco van der Ban
, and it was Neeraj Muthyala
who completed the rout in the final minute.