Grilled Birds 6 - 1 Joker 9
League, Season 7322 December 2019 04:30 HTT
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Grilled BirdsJoker 9
Kalki Parvathaneni (17)
Chan Ze Han (18)
Bernie Egan (33)
Neeraj Muthyala (36)
Kalki Parvathaneni (39)
Chan Ze Han (72)
Wu Seng An (91)

Season 73L6 - 2League
Season 73W2 - 5Cup
Season 71W11 - 1League
Season 71W2 - 4League
Season 59L5 - 3League

Jovial Resumption
Enchanting Ze Han

The Birds turned their attention back to league business without missing a beat, and wiped Joker 9 at home without too much fuss. There was no telling which face of the Jokers would turn up, with there already having been one big win and corresponding big loss for the Geylang mainstays this season. Ho Ah Kian having just declared his intention to leave had severely affected their attack, though, and while it wasn't as it their depth there was lacking - U-20 talents Yu Kong Han and Tay Woon Chun had both already featured against Grilled, for one - they simply lacked that something at The Cooking Pot.
The attendance, coming in at just over 37000, was rather disappointing in welcoming back a side that had just picked up the Emerald Challenger Cup, but the players weren't about to let it get them down. Hovaness Noubaryan could afford the luxury of keeping Moey Xin Seng and Vikram Mudaliar on the bench for kick-off, with Chan Ze Han entrusted with leadership and midfield duties. For the Jokers, Jae-Jun Kim saw no reason to deviate from their usual gameplan, so it would again be a mirror contest of hold-nothing-back 2-5-3 formations.

The last two had been decided by relatively fine margins, despite the exaggerated final scorelines, with plenty determined by which team rode their swings the best; this was not true for this game. Joker 9's loss of playing character through the absence of Ho was evident, and they were unable to convince when on the ball. The necessary consequence was that Grilled were left with few qualms in forging ahead, which could only have one outcome eventually. Cyril Künzler managed to send more than a few crosses in from the right, and Kalki Parvathaneni glanced one of those in by the 17th minute.

This opener was immediately followed by another strike from Chan Ze Han, who might have waylaid a couple of long passes before that, but who however was unimpeachable come his moment. He carried it to the edge of the penalty area as the Joker 9 defence hustled to cover his outlets, to which his natural instinct was to go it himself, and wonderfully too. There was a lull of sorts about now as Tobias Wurzinger imposed himself, but the balance remained against the visitors, and Bernie Egan hosed Wu Seng An in the 33rd to extend his scoring streak against the Jokers to three consecutive matches.

A terrible accident would then occur, unfortunately, as Islom Davlatov went to ground in absolute agony after rolling his right ankle, trying to twist sharply against Wu on the left. The defender then compounded the pain by stepping on that foot, in trying to recover his position with his back turned. It was a clear emergency to all in the vicinity, who wasted no time in signalling for the medical team and stretcher-bearers.

The referee was perhaps mistaken when he awarded the free-kick to Grilled for that, not that Davlatov's teammates were going to look a gift horse in the mouth. The initial take from Mudaliar spun off a defender and behind, after which Künzler dropped the corner kick right on top of Neeraj Muthyala, for a straightforward fourth. Several minutes later, Kalki had a relatively tame effort let in by Gert-Jan van Boshuizen, but one sensed that the goalkeeper was close to beyond caring by then.

Little changed after the break, with Grilled Birds apparently having been urged to watch out for their own safety, what with Davlatov having joined Heng Dong Chu on the long-term injured list. Davlatov's replacement Prokop Mottl remained bent on giving a good account for himself, and it was probably not for no reason that the Czech backup had been picked to come on before his rather more illustrious teammates. He barely stopped running throughout, and few could begrudge him from having a go from the right side of the box on the hour, but the execution frankly left much to be desired.

Grilled's share of possession meant that they continued being relevant despite dialing back their aggression, and Muthyala nearly made a second for himself as the team made it a point to overload Chow Puay Hui. Gert-Jan van Boshuizen saved handily, though. The Birds would finally introduce Moey and Mudaliar with twenty minutes to go, and this fed straight into a classic centre-forward's header courtesy of Chan Ze Han, who brooked no opposition hanging in the air to meet yet another Künzler delivery.

The Birds were coasting toward a relaxed ending, but there would be one final twist in the tale. Having been largely unchallenged throughout the second half, Grilled were out of their element when the Jokers committed everything they had, on what was probably their last spell of possession in added time. It worked, too. Wu Seng An gained a small measure of his own back, as the ball fell to him on that last-ditch rush, and the match thus concluded with Gert-Jan van Boshuizen yelling his defiance in the centre circle.

    SaxyTeam Buzzed
    Earning His Place
    Pek Goes Dutch
    Jovial Resumption
    Well And Truly Humbled
    Maltanesi Marooned
    International Retake Lead
    Sale No Duff
    Four Into Eight
    More To Come
2016-08-01 00:37:41
anonymous: Thanks for the special mention :) I would just like to expre...
2015-08-17 18:50:02
anonymous: excellent read as always!- Yjorn
2015-06-13 03:08:41
anonymous: Rasha say
2014-12-14 16:56:39
gilbertlim: well, it seemed like that.
2014-12-12 18:26:33
anonymous: I didn't play a 4-5-2
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