Not So Old Foes
While he could not quite knock the result, Grilled gaffer Hovaness Noubaryan
found it hard to shake off a lingering sense of inadequacy. "Big Dogs were generous with their lineup, that's for sure. We did okay, considering that."
Farmer Bunnies got past East Coast third divisioners espk28 with ease too, although they wouldn't have described it such after a shamefully unproductive first half. Morgan Hu
injected urgency, coming on for a needlessly-defensive Namdar Zarar
, and Tham Leng Teck
settled nerves with his cool finish in the 53rd minute, for his landmark fiftieth Bunnies goal. Late goals from Kwek Yun Jie
, Mushtag Al-Nameeri
and Nurlan Ablaev
duly came, to add gloss to what had been a decidedly unappetizing affair.
What made it worse was that espk28 had been playing with ten men and a makeshift goalie for much of the game, after French custodian Geoffrey Leduc had to leave after 29 minutes, having badly pulled his hamstring making an unorthodox save on Aswad Mohd Jafni
; Iranian rightback Iman Behravan would fill in, and held the Buns off for a while with the basics.
In any case, both the Birds and the Buns have made it to the quarterfinals of their respective Challenger Cups, and the new rules have mandated that the draws be made through to the finals. This has seen Grilled Birds pitted against former cupwinners FC Barca Singapore, and if they prevail, they will take on one of Yew Tea and Vulturii Singapore; United Legends FC must be the ones to beat on the other side of the bracket, and Sim(TM) - who edged ~Pollen~ on penalties - will have their work cut out for them.
On the Bunnies' end, they will take on Puh erh, who Grilled memorably bested two seasons ago to complete their national cup collection. A victory will see them probably face S-League club Arrogancae, although Bukit Gombak cannot be counted out either having sprung the upset of the day - a four-nil thrashing of KingofNoobs United.