Grilled passed their latest test with flying colours, and are now guaranteed promotion to the S-League with three wins from their final four league matches; -= Manchester United =- are now their only remaining competitors for the II.2 title, with next opponents Kim Tae Hee FC falling out of contention after their 0-2 loss to Chemistry, who thereby climb into fourth.
Hovaness cautioned supporters about considering the club's next two games against KTH FC and United as the hardest, and discounting FC Tobi 74 and Joker 9. "I continue to believe that any club in this league is a real threat, on their day. We have gotten where we are by respecting all our opponents, and we are going to continue to do so."
That said, United were not especially convincing despite their 3-0 win over relegation-bound Real Balmoral, while FC Tobi 74 and Joker 9 paid no heed to defending as they played out a 5-4 blockbuster that eventually tilted Tobi's way. Joker 9 defender Wu Seng An nearly saved them a point with his late heroics, but was unable to complete the requisite hat-trick.
On the transfer front, Noubaryan acknowledged that former midfielder Ang Leong Kum's agent had been in contact, with the 35 year-old seeking an exit from top-flight side Haha, where he had spent the last six seasons after leaving Grilled. "It's an interesting proposal, but I'm not sure the price is right."
Over at Pasir Ris, the Bunnies avenged their slip-up against Phantasm Hotspurs earlier in the campaign, with a 3-0 away victory that left no doubt as to their powers of adaptation. Vishnu Tallapaka
scored his seventh goal in as many matches from a free, and Nurlan Ablaev
put it to bed with a second. Aswad Mohd Jafni
would pad the scoreline with a slightly-cheap counter on a Hotspurs mistake in the 78th minute, but veteran stopper Namdar Zarar
would be ruled out for next Sunday, with his third yellow of the season.
admitted that Zarar would have been appreciated in the must-win clash against league leaders JUtd, but preferred to count his blessings. "Namdar aside, we have a full, healthy squad to pick from. JUtd are strong, but we have dealt with them in the cup final, and The EV put three past them today."
Last but not least, Grilled International dominated third-placed AC Uettligen, with the Swiss representatives entirely outmatched in Brunei. It became quite ugly after International went 3-0 up by the 32nd minute, however, and a violent three-way clash between Alessandro Freshner, Azzam Ragab and Sazwan bin Hj Muhd Salleh
saw the latter two out injured, with Sazwan headbutting Ragab in the ribs after being shoved mid-jump.
Freshner would be booked for his part in that misadventure, and would go on to record Uettligen's consolation goal with six minutes remaining. Fausto Perono
had poached a brace before that, but the mercurial Italian forward would also disqualify himself from International's next match, no thanks to his ill-advised slide in on Ke Lianyu from behind.