Nguyen Nicks One
"If you had told me that we would be seven points clear with five rounds remaining, I would have said that you were crazy." Grilled head coach Hovaness Noubaryan
stated matter-of-factly. "Yet here we are!"
Indeed, -= Manchester United =- being held to a goalless draw at home by Robbie Football Club has seen the Birds being able to afford two losses and yet be guaranteed the title, an enviable position to be in. If all goes reasonably well, they can conceivably wrap it all up at home against United during Week 12.
That said, the next two matches will be tough, with the Birds travelling to RFC and then Kim Tae Hee FC; the latter had to leave it late to beat FC Tobi 74 3-1, and that after Ignacy Karnat had to be stretchered off with a bad thigh strain. Nonetheless, Moey Xin Seng
warned of complacency.
"The finishing line may be drawing closer, but there shouldn't be any let-ups until we actually cross it. There have been more spectacular collapses, and I don't want this one to slip from us."
Farmer Bunnies achieved the same 5-0 over in II.3, as they crushed basement dwellers The Sing Tigers with uncharacteristically-proactive play. Vishnu Tallapaka
was once more utterly dependable on dead balls as he converted first a free-kick, and then a penalty, in the first half. National fullbacks Tham Leng Teck
and Kwek Yun Jie
chipped in too, with spirits high after their Emerald Challenger Cup success.
The fifth and final goal would arrive in injury time after what was probably meant as a run-down-the-clock substitution, of Daniel Nguyen
for Nurlan Ablaev
. The reserve striker had other ideas, though, and he managed to do what neither Ablaev nor Mushtag Al-Nameeri
could, as he headed Wong Ting Yew
's cross from deep past Hein Pelleboer on the first attempt.
This would be the 31 year-old Nguyen's first league goal in three seasons, and his first in Division Two. "It's good to know that I can still make a contribution." he deadpanned. "Sure hope not to wait another three years for the next one."
Grilled International ran true to form as they wiped Livonia United 10-0, with the goals being heavily front and end-loaded; the first four came before the 17th minute, with the remainder scored from the 75th. Three of those last would come from Hardi bin Besar
, who thereby collected his first career hat-trick.