Hanoos Crush Birds
Nigerian defending national champions Koren's Kanoos absolutely smashed Grilled Birds in their Wednesday friendly, as former Northern Irish international Sebastian Kersley and homegrown heartthrob Patrick Stephen both put hat-tricks past an out-of-it Eren Serpin
. Grilled's blushes were very slightly averted by Chan Ze Han
before the end, to save the Birds from being wiped.
Kanoos were known for fielding uncommonly strong lineups for their tune-ups, having won their four previous exhibitions this season, and today would be no exception. Taha Moutwakil, capped eleven times for the Dutch national side, would grace the midfield alongside countryman Aldo Morriën - himself a youth international - and Hungarian enforcer András Husz. Polish wingers Mieczysław Wasylik and Patryk Drelich completed a formidable centreline.
With such an engine room, the identities of those before them hardly mattered, and the 21 year-old Stephen would nip in for a brace by the 16th minute, despite being a defender by trade. His acceleration was no joking matter as he handily caught Grilled's admittedly second-rung defence out both times; neither was his combativeness, as shown when he flattened Prokop Mottl
while helping out after Drelich had accidentally lost the ball, for which he would be carded.
Mottle rejoined the fray after a detailed looking-over from trusty team medic Ian Chuang, and it was then Grilled's turn to lay on the hurt, with José Luiz Velho
putting Wasylik out of commission with an overcooked slide into his standing leg. Muhammed Oyedele had by then put the hosts three up no thanks to a Serpin error, and Patrick Stephen would then complete his treble from Drelich's hanging cross, with Mohd Jafni Abdul Majid
getting nowhere close in the air. Louis Zanza had it at five by half-time, as Moey Xin Seng
struggled manfully to rally his comrades.
's entry for Islom Davlatov
did nothing for the Birds in the second half, with their issues being far deeper than the substitution of a wide man could fix. Truth to tell, it was not that much Grilled's midfield - which after all had Moey and Chan, even if Heng Dong Chu
was a little lost there - but their defence that suffered. Kanoos looked like scoring each time they managed to feed their frontline, and quite often, they did.
Number Ten Sebastian Kersley was every bit as deadly swinging in from the right, as he was in his accustomed position of centre forward, and he would bully his way to his own hat-trick, between the 51st and 62nd minutes. Jérémy Tarin
, Kersley's main victim, was entirely at his mercy on his dribbles. Together with Aldo Morriën's tap-in in the 53rd, this made it nine without reply for Kanoos.
Chan Ze Han
would finally salvage some small pride for the Birds, with his alert put-back after Dragoş-Cristian Bonda had done well to deflect Bernie Egan
's bullet header from a corner. Ahmed Igodan would however have Kanoos reach double digits, as he again bust through on the right despite Moey's best efforts at coverage.