While one would be hard-pressed to describe how defeat would be cause for satisfaction, there remained a general sense of optimism about The Cooking Pot, even as Grilled's return to the S-League started on an unsuccessful note.
"It's something, just to be back at the top level." head coach Hovaness Noubaryan
judged. "Everybody's still buzzed about that. That feeling will change very soon if we don't start getting some points."
About the match itself, Noubaryan thought that his team had gotten the short end of the stick. "That was a decent performance, just that we couldn't make more of our chances count, and they got a couple of easy ones. Chakúrov's was beautiful, definitely - if you love football, you've got to give them that."
Other than Grilled, all the home teams won in the first round, with Sarcastic Fringeheads getting their bid for a three-peat off and running by smashing KingofNoobs United, 3-0. Haha's midfield dominance got them a 3-1 win over Mia San Toa Payoh, while Arrogancae reserved their efforts against Bot Team FC, and fell to a 1-2 defeat.
As for the Farmer Bunnies, they split the points with JUtd, who came back from two goals down to tie it up at three goals apiece. Mushtag Al-Nameeri
went from saint to sinner, as he sparked the Buns' run by slicing through the JUtd defence on the counter in the 21st minute, only to find himself alone in the showers after a second yellow card for arguing with the match officials, by the 75th.
was very disappointed with his star striker, despite JUtd having already gone level by then. "I'll say it, that was simply stupid. Mushtag is smarter than that, and he has got to reflect on what he should have done, which was - nothing."
There was more bad tidings to come from the Bunnies gaffer, as he confirmed that team captain and heartbeat Tham Leng Teck
would most probably be out for a month, after the broken left foot he had suffered on national duty. "It's a damned shame. And he was so eager to contribute too."
As it turned out, littlehorse would be the only winners of the round, with their 4-1 victory over Ambush F.C.; Club Dinosauria vs. The EV and Heaven Skys vs. Red Freaking Chillies both ended in entertaining draws, in a possible sign of how tight the competition has become.
Finally, Grilled International's ambition to return to the top of V.231 got a boost, as they dealt with Division Four arrivees Recife Sport handily despite playing away, with Fausto Perono
nodding in the all-important go-ahead goal with eight minutes remaining. Osertz Indurain
then put all remaining worries to rest, with his finish in injury time.
This however was not enough for International to head the table, as Barbados' Nice litle pingvin wrecked semi-pro club Uusimaa FC 8-0. They will have the opportunity to set this straight as early as next week, with the Pingvins set to visit Burung Memorial Stadium.