FC Tobi 74 would find II.2 harder to navigate than their opening week might have suggested, as they were defeated 1-4 at The Cooking Pot, despite setting out in a 4-3-3 designed to counter Grilled's game. Jeremy de Munnik was drafted as their fourth man in defence, with Hungarian Number Nine Ferenc Szathmári making his return after a substitute appearance against Divine Grace FC in the first round of the cup. John Momanyi was left to carry Tobi's midfield mostly by himself, and it proved a weight too heavy, even for his accomplished shoulders.
However, this wasn't evident in the first ten minutes or so, as the visitors began fearlessly. In fact, Talal Al-Sahbani's tactics seemed to have worked a treat, as Tobi actually went ahead after merely three minutes. The Birds had been patiently distributing it around the borders of Tobi's penalty area after Vikram Mudaliar
had smashed one onto the crossbar, and this second build-up was disrupted by Sebastian Ernst's good vision. A counterattack ensued, and Szathmári turned Gilbert Webb
inside-out to complete it.
There was no question that FC Tobi 74 were then bent on defending that lead to the death, and while an entirely rational ambition, it would be difficult against a Grilled side with multiple real threats in attack. Their considerable forward line aside, the Birds retained two excellent wingers, as Florus Romijn
reminded by surging past first Hung Creel, and then Hjörtur Hafsteinsson on the left side. Chan Ze Han
couldn't quite reach his low pass, which was alright as Cyril Künzler
then met it strongly with a first-time blast.
It was back to square one for Tobi, who might have slightly regretted not being more adventurous for longer; there was surely no way they could get back on the front foot now, not with Grilled at home and on the warpath. German midfielder Siegwart Kriegmaier would have to come off in the 24th minute with a twisted left ankle, to be replaced by countryman Christoph Nerée. Another close shave from Mudaliar followed, before they nearly beat the odds with Jeremy de Munnik's counter on a failed Islom Davlatov
FC Tobi 74 would eventually buckle in their unfamiliar formation, and it would be Künzler again, giving the Birds a 2-1 lead after a penetrating move down Grilled's more-active right flank. Ferenc Szathmári, clearly the visitors' top performer of the half, would go for the equalizer with an effort from some twenty-odd yards; it came closer than Massoud Dob
was comfortable with, and his defenders got an earful for allowing Szathmári the space.
Szathmári lit up the second half too, and he might yet have set up the equalizer for Hung Creel, after a combination of... interesting shielding maneuvers in the Grilled box bought time for help to arrive. Even the home fans had to applaud the creativity there. This was probably made easier by the fact that the Birds turned the tables with a swift counter of their own, even if Kalki Parvathaneni
hit it over, which was the story of the day.
While Grilled all but monopolized possession, their single-goal lead wasn't exactly comfortable, as their supporters well recognized. The visitors were always good for a lucky breakaway, and were not-very-subtly playing for it by packing their defensive third. The Birds' forwards were certainly very tightly marked, and it took the additional legs of Bernie Egan
to find a gap. And an impressive run and shot it was too, whistling past Pierre Manche into the roof of the net.
Egan could have doubled it up like Künzler in the very next minute, with Tobi's morale taking a dip, but he would be denied by the woodwork. Injury time was bang for the buck with Vikram Mudaliar
finally getting on the scoresheet, and Hoàng Trung Quá
nearly adding a fifth, with his first touch after replacing Gilbert Webb
in the 89th minute.