Grilled made the most of their welcome diversion in Kenya, defeating Division Three hosts N.W.B 2 by three goals to one. A spinoff of the eponymous Dutch club, N.W.B 2 had been beaten down the past two weekends in the league by Rambo United, with former Edbe FC Singapore expat Ong Wai Chao setting it all off; Danish head coach Jan Katholm would persist in using midweek friendlies to give more playing time to youth, reserves and underperformers alike, and it would be a motley crew who turned out in their sharp crimson top with white stripe this afternoon.
That said, the Birds' prospects were hardly any better - and in some ways worse - even as they debuted new record signing Heng Dong Chu
at left midfield, in what would be a free role with Islom Davlatov
tasked to cover. This was not an entirely comfortable job for Davlatov, and the two would have some misunderstandings as they interacted, though it was nothing out of the ordinary for new teammates. In any case, it was not as if their opponents were well-poised to profit, and 19 year-old Enzi Kalinga would soon be carded for one poorly-judged tackle on Heng too many.
Grilled's opener would arrive a few minutes following that, with Bernie Egan
proving himself as the Birds' main inspiration from midfield, what with Prokop Mottl
and José Luiz Velho
putting in pedestrian showings in attack. Jonathan Soita had been managing passably well, aided by busy tracking runs from his mids, but there was no stopping Egan's dribble then. Parmenas Ndugo came out by the book, only for Egan to slip it into the near corner after a smooth-as-silk touch outside.
The Birds weren't all that impressive outside of that, and a better side would have punished them far more harshly, despite several exceptional solo thrusts from Egan and Mudaliar now and then. Japanese referee Tetsuo Yanagisawa attempted to keep the game flowing as best as he could, which led to protests by Hovaness Noubaryan
as the hosts challenged harshly. It would take a particularly egregious foul on Jérémy Tarin
for Tetsuo to flash his yellow card again, this time for a mostly-unrepentant Zahun Bonzo.
N.W.B 2 then managed their first attempt on target as the half closed, with the hardworking Kalinga catching a spirited cross from Daudi Ogola, who was enjoying his maiden professional match. Sadly, Kalinga couldn't get his head over that ball, and Grilled would make it two on the counter, Islom Davlatov
having interchanged with Heng to rip through on the inside.
It was then N.W.B 2's turn to overturn on the first move of the second half, barely a minute after Bhavya Panigrahi
had replaced Davlatov. Kalki Parvathaneni
had never been a natural winger, but his raw speed had been enough to leave John Obado behind on the right, and the centering wasn't half bad either. Kohei Okuya
's volley would be turned over by Ndugo, however, and the hosts would score on the break from the failed corner, with Bonzo taking extra pride in his exaggerated celebrations.
The quality of football on show, never that high, would steadily deteriorate as the players tired on the heavy pitch, and the game would eventually be reduced to guileless long deliveries, that said with Grilled still holding most of the cards. Egan would have a wonderstrike come off the bar in the 63rd, and it would be left to José Luiz Velho
to put the nail in from distance some ten minutes later. There would be a minor fracas in injury time after Jelani Nyingi's provocative shoulder-bump of Heng, but the match officials would swiftly regain control.