Instead of a cup final, Grilled Birds would have a visit from Comoros III.15 side Comore Dragons FC to look forward to, with the Dragons having just won their Division Four league at a canter last season. Their fate was sealed when the Birds came out with what was essentially a full-strength XI, though, and they would reach double digits in what amounted to be a training-ground exercise.
The Dragons' biggest star in their lineup was arguably 27 year-old homegrown striker Salim Mramboini, who despite his relatively modest goal record, has developed into an indispensible worker running the channels; this comes with a heavy dose of sometimes-misplaced competitiveness, as when he collected two yellow cards within 33 minutes against Portugal's Bocas d'uva, a fortnight ago. The fans seem to recognize these tendencies as an acceptable tradeoff, though, from their unwavering online support.
The visitors definitely had the lungs to match Grilled man-for-man in the first twenty minutes or so, even if there was a sense that they were overclocking themselves, while the Birds were if anything more casual than the usual. Cracks would begin to show as the Dragons couldn't maintain their output for much longer, and centreback Nordine M'Dahoma's being outpaced by Vikram Mudaliar
for the opener would be swiftly followed up, by an opportunistic headed goal from José Luiz Velho
There would be more woe for Comore Dragons FC, as Mramboini came on the receiving end of an uncompromising Neeraj Muthyala
tackle. There was a bit of a kerfuffle going on as Muthyala found himself surrounded by Mramboini's teammates, as the Number Eighteen writhed on the grass. It was evident that Mramboini wasn't exaggerating the pain he was in, once his sock got rolled down, and he would be replaced by Azali Selemani. Muthyala managed to stay on, since the referee had already settled on a yellow card.
Grilled, unmoved, then ran the score up to 6-0 by half-time. Prokop Mottl
put two away thanks mostly to good positioning, and Chan Ze Han
and the classiest of the lot, placing his volley into the top left corner seemingly without even looking up. Neeraj Muthyala
got one too, which was badly received by the small gaggle of travelling fans, who had taken up a conspicuous section of the grandstand.
There couldn't have been much expectations remaining about a result for the visitors, and they were, if not more challenging, at least more entertaining in the second half. M'Dahoma and Kassim Alhadhur joined Selemani in attack, which ironically probably helped their defensive efforts more than if they had stayed back. Grilled made a change too, as they tried to have Eren Serpin
play himself back into match-fitness.
Chan Ze Han
got the scoring back on in the 55th minute, picking his path cannily, as he showed that he had forgotten little about playing as a midfielder. This was more than could be said about Bilal Mohammad Harun
as a forward, given his glaring lack of initiative, and Grilled's left attack would perk up considerably once Bilal switched positions with Bernie Egan
's popularity with the Dragons contingent hadn't improved since the first half, going from how they booed his second goal as well, not that he appeared to take it to heart. Egan and Hoàng Trung Quá
would up the scoreline to 10-0 by the 76th minute, right before Bhavya Panigrahi
got into the referee's bad books with a clumsy leap onto Alhadhur, who crumpled under the weight. Luckily, there wasn't any damage done in this instance.