Grilled's league revival continued with a no-fuss 7-1 home steamrolling of Shoryuken FC, who entered the day on three losses and a draw for the past month. Experienced Israeli head coach Alan Pe'er had taken them to consecutive Division Three titles by building a strong central backbone, behind the honest graft and craft of club icon Theodore Zheng, and former national U-20 fellow Kolten Yuen. The latter would conspiciously again be absent from Shoryuken's travelling squad, however, and the final score suggested that they could ill afford his omission.
Then again, both clubs had cup commitments to worry about, with Shoryuken FC living up to their billing as top remaining seed in the Singapore Consolation Cup, with a 5-0 whitewash of alsocan on Wednesday. The Birds met Shoryuken's accustomed 3-4-3 head-on, and moreover brought wingers Cyril Künzler
and Heng Dong Chu
back in from the cold, after both were entirely dropped against Automat last Sunday.
had however saved Moey Xin Seng
for the Singapore Cup quarterfinals, and with Neeraj Muthyala
and Bilal Mohammad Harun
also benched, it could be argued that their three best pure midfielders were not out there. Despite that, it turned out to be more than the visitors could chew on, as they abrogated their right to ball possession soon enough. The pressure gradually piled on with Künzler patiently working Elvin McCutchen down his flank, and the Polish winger obtained his first assist in the 22nd minute, with his delivery turned in by Islom Davlatov
Davlatov had already gotten Grilled ahead with a pinpoint strike to the top corner by then, and Dutch goalkeeper Pierre Beffers seemed slightly shaken as the Birds went for a third with gusto. An exuberant Künzler had a wildly-dipping attempt land atop the netting as he obliged the supporters' encouragement to shoot, and Bernie Egan
would be denied only by the woodwork in the 33rd minute, as he continued plying the box diligently as the target man.
Shoryuken FC hadn't abandoned their attacking instincts amidst weathering the onslaught, and they had a good shout for a penalty in the 38th, after Yuta Nakakita
appeared to have manhandled 18 year-old forward Naim Mohd Jehan. Finnish referee Eemil Leppäniemi however adjudged it a dive, to Naim's fury and the crowd's delight. The visitors would gain some measure of vindication two minutes on, though, as the aggrieved Naim again danced down the right, before squaring it for Theodore Zheng, who opened up his stance by the book to curl it around Dob for 2-1.
That proved a temporary respite, as Grilled Birds restored their two-goal cushion before the break, through Vikram Mudaliar
's neat close control and improvised take. Leppäniemi blew for half-time shortly after the celebrations, to the additional consternation of some of the away fans, although the Shoryuken players themselves behaved rather indifferently - which might be understood from how completely they had been contained. Noubaryan wasn't resting on his laurels, result aside, and he would place Bhavya Panigrahi
on for the underperforming Yuta Nakakita
The Birds were if anything even more commanding, and it took them only nine more minutes to extend their lead, with Künzler once more leading the charge from the right. In theory, Shoryuken had McCutchen there to block him, but the American wasn't quite as effective on defence as they had hoped; in the end, Künzler would lift it over everyone clustered in the middle, allowing Heng Dong Chu
to head it uncontested to Chu Xin Lee
, who only had to swipe it cleanly to score.
Künzler, so prolific a provider, would have far less luck going it himself, with Beffers tipping his rising shot into the grandstand a couple of minutes on. He then returned to doing what he was best at, and sent a tempting deep cross slightly outside the goalkeeper's comfort zone in the 59th minute. Chan Ze Han
's header would be tracked by Ferry Zwaan, but the defender succeeded only in redirecting it into his own net.
About ten minutes on, the way in which Vikram Mudaliar
ran onto the ball at top speed before scoring wasn't especially remarkable, but the occasion was, as the scoreboard reminded all and sundry that it was the former Singapore international's fiftieth league goal for the club. Mudaliar wasn't about to make a big hooha of it, though, and immediately picked the ball out for the restart. Spurred on by this attitude, the team continued hounding their opponents, and Bernie Egan
upped the score to 7-1 following a disguised turn in the 74th minute.