|Season 72||L||5 - 0||League|
|Season 71||L||3 - 5||Cup|
|Season 57||L||2 - 4||Tournament (Group Phase)|
|Season 52||W||6 - 0||Tournament (Playoffs)|
|Season 48||L||4 - 3||League|
Caught Short II
Injury Time Heartache
The Birds improved with their second home league draw in a row, although as before with Bot Team FC, it could easily have been so much more. In any case, Grilled's approach was near-unrecognizable to that which had fallen 0-5 to Arrogancae just last Sunday, even as the hosts-turned-visitors very reasonably stuck with what had worked so well for them - and cranked it further.
For Arrogancae, this meant a five-man defence, with Pablo Reznik figuring that he could allow Grilled to break themselves on it, as before. As for Grilled Birds, the only big change was Bernie Egan
starting in place of Kalki Parvathaneni
, who had left early due to an unseemly knock to his unmentionables, in the last meeting. Kalki had recovered enough to be on the bench, however. Otherwise, except for Cyril Künzler
switching to the left, and Neeraj Muthyala
and Chu Xin Lee
swapping places, the Birds were unchanged.
Arrogancae of course had the Ruby Challenger Cup final against Farmer Bunnies to consider, and Buns head coach Dalibor Kostadinović
had gone to the extent of skipping their own game for this, and he had very noticeably finagled seats for himself and a small entourage, right behind the dugouts.
What he saw early on might not have been encouraging, as Arrogancae handled Grilled's initial efforts with an unshakeable calm. Chan Ze Han
, making his 200th overall appearance for the club, would be boxed out from a good position in the box, in the third minute. More unsuccessful attempts floundered, and the expected happened in the 23rd minute, after the latest forced miss by Bernie Egan
. The break was on, and would be completed with Frank van der Heiden inserting himself from the left, to guide Nicola Abis' centered ball home.
The Birds, as mentioned, were not what they were at Avengers Apocalypse, and their willingness to put themselves forward would be much appreciated by their home fans. Their equalizer would arrive in short order, as Vikram Mudaliar
looked for the foul against Prohar Kryvec, instead of risking another turnover. The Belarusian defender took the bait, senior referee Florian Scharpenberg gave the free-kick, and Cyril Künzler
tucked it away to the bottom corner thanks to Felipe Porras gambling on a four-man wall.
History would then recur, as Chan Ze Han
went down clutching his inner thigh, at about the same time that Kalki had been injured last weekend. Ironically, it would be Kalki himself who came on for the skipper, with the armband being passed to Moey Xin Seng
. The Birds then found themselves ahead several minutes after the unscheduled time-out, with Mudaliar piercing the Arrogancae lines, before squaring it to Chu Xin Lee
for an exquisite chip. 2-1.
Being in the lead made the Grilled supporters quite delirious, though the excitement had by no means come to an end at The Cooking Pot. Chu Xin Lee
had been something of a revelation on the right wing, with van der Heiden and Bagazgoitia clearly having little idea on how to shut him down. Chu would rake a powerful effort off the post, and Arrogancae again took full advantage on the counter, and Ruddy Lora emulated Mudaliar in going for the free-kick. Bagazgoitia fired it hard and true from an extended run-up, but straight at Massoud Dob
The tension would only be broken when Scharpenberg blew for half-time, and there would even be a bit of banter between Moey and fellow captain Cuno Ulrich Dupp, as the duo strolled off. There was no love lost when play resumed, as would be expected, and they would soon have a war of words over a stiff challenge from Grilled sub Bhavya Panigrahi
Arrogancae were the more productive as the match went on, partly due to Grilled starting to stand off, which was a calculated tack by Hovaness Noubaryan
given Arrogancae's comparative lack of out-and-out attackers. This had its own risks, such as when Nicola Abis managed to dart past Muthyala on a wonderful first touch in the 63rd, despite the pass to him being overhit. The cross to Lev Vodov was verging on perfection too, but the Russian midfielder volleyed it well wide.
The Birds then began to stick it in, and Vikram Mudaliar
for one nearly put the game to bed in the 78th minute with a one-man rampage, only to be subbed straight afterwards for Islom Davlatov
. Grilled were entirely unlucky not to score through Chu Xin Lee
five minutes later, as the left goalpost proved Chu's biggest bane on the day. Still, a first S-League win of the season remained very much on the cards, and much of the stadium would be singing on their feet, as the fixture entered its final minutes with Arrogancae mostly subdued.
And then, disaster. Grilled were perhaps a bit too greedy as they continued seeking a third goal in earnest, and Bernie Egan
skinned Anacleto Rissoto on the right boundary by making use of the outside of the pitch, instead of holding it up in the corner, as most in his position would have done. Egan did nothing wrong playing it short to Cyril Künzler
either, but the miss would be the Birds' undoing.
The ball boy might have regretted being too honest and returning it to Porras as soon as he could, after watching Panigrahi get beaten in the air by Vodov, as Arrogancae deployed their get-out-of-jail card. Ruddy Lora got a step on Gilbert Webb
simultaneously, and that was it, as he placed an inch-perfect grounder between Dob and his far post.
There remained time for Grilled to launch one final attack, but Dupp would take no chances, and hauled Neeraj Muthyala
down the moment he got close. The visitors weren't shy about packing their own penalty area either, and the referee stopped the game immediately as their defence cleared high.