Spartans Inflict Pain
Moey Hits Deck
The visiting Guam Spartans FC might not have been remarkably cultivated, footballing techique wise, but they definitely possessed all the combativeness of their warrior namesakes.
The Spartans, founded by members of Italian club Milano City FC, had racked up fourteen straight competitive wins entering this friendly - most of them while being known as Tribal Rhythm. Their renaming came about a week before winning IV.52 with a perfect point record and a goal difference of +122, representing a winning margin of almost nine goals per game. Suffice to say, it hadn't been the stiffest test of their abilities.
They would discover this against Grilled Birds in Singapore, whose Moey Xin Seng
, Chu Xin Lee
and - on the day - Gilbert Webb
, were a couple of cuts above any of the Spartans players. No-nonsense Keith Mitchell might have forged his fledgling team into an impressively single-minded functional cohort, but where their unrelenting iteration between a few simple patterns had been enough to decimate mostly-amateur league opposition, it was a little too naive the expect the same here.
That didn't deter them from getting stuck in, as Prokop Mottl
found to his shins' detriment in the fourth minute - he looked to have been run over by two defenders, only to be completely ignored by referee Urban Cadonau. Some time later, Hanas Barać's entirely irredeemable tackle would finally be punished by a booking, and Dante Tran
put Yee Jian Hui
through on the quick free-kick take.
It would be 2-0 by the 14th minute, with Tran himself braving the Spartans' gauntlet to get inside their six-yard box, and the visitors' discipline would begin to waver at this. The rest of the half was then marked by a very good display from Gilbert Webb
, who bombed forward intelligently while still fulfilling his defensive midfield duties. He put José Luiz Velho
's searching cross away in the 32nd, before making it two with a strong header some six minutes after that.
The lead-in to that fourth goal had been insane, however, and it saw Yee Jian Hui
more or less slammed to the ground by Abraham Fernando, as they jockeyed for position. Worse, Yee would fall on Moey Xin Seng
's trailing leg in an awkward mid-strike position, and it was hard to tell which of the Birds players came off worse. In the end, both had to come off, with Moey passing the armband to his replacement Chan Ze Han
. As for Yee, he would be subbed by Leonard Nguyen
Webb would complete a rare hat-trick straight from the restart, from Jérémy Tarin
's nicely-placed indirect free, and Grilled evidently felt no need to bother their Guam visitors further. Peter Ledesma would emerge as something of a point to rally to for the Spartans as the match meandered on, as he tightened their midfield up somewhat.
The Birds weren't totally inactive, though, as Prokop Mottl
and Chirag Thevar
continued on their personal hunts; Thevar would nearly catch Warren Mitra napping with his little redirection in the 72nd minute, but for the upright. Dante Tran
would join Barać and Fernando in the referee's book, in his case for dissent, late on - a small black mark on what had been otherwise a mature outing.