Chu Xin Lee
and Moey Xin Seng
got only the second hat-tricks of their pro career, after Grilled Birds flattened City club Kampala Kangaroos 9-0 in the Cup this morning. The III.13 members had knocked Talpons out in the last round, but consecutive defeats in the league to Gelang United and then The Red Tide suggested major shortcomings - that the Birds were raring to dismantle.
All considered, Kangaroos' Czech head coach Filip Machala, a prolific goalscorer in his heyday, had an attacking vision for his team that he would sacrifice for no opposition. To this end, he stuck with his favoured 3-4-3 while fielding an entirely-homegrown XI. The club management might have endured a huge amount of flak from the supporters for not reinvesting the proceeds from their last clearout, which included over S$23 million for former national star Ng Shi Hock, but they had somehow managed to promote from the fourth division even in a reduced state.
Kangaroos' situation was perhaps best summed up by a 40 year-old Ben Liu leading his mates out on his birthday, as made known to all by a cadre of diehards hoisting a banner at Mbale Highs; the 72000-capacity stadium would be nearly two-thirds filled, but many were still taking their seats, when Grilled went ahead. Chan Ze Han
twisted this way and that as the home team's defence was determined not to give him any space at all, but that just meant more for Chu Xin Lee
, who received the tapback and calmly rounded the advancing Shaji Kovvuru to score.
It was not that Kampala Kangaroos were lacking in endeavor, and Chua Chang Shun for one had sufficient skill to draw Prokol Mottl into a foul and early yellow, that nearly led to a Li Jian Shun equalizer, but they were simply unequipped to deal with this Birds selection on level terms. Basic precise shot interpassing was enough to bring Chu his treble by the 26th minute, as the Birds forwards ran rings around a Kangaroos backline that had never quite been famed as their strength.
was very unfortunate to see his stylish diving header strike the outside of the post in the 30th minute, and Moey made good on that with his textbook demonstration from a corner kick, eight minutes on. Kangaroos were not about to bow out silently, though, and centreback Koh Jia Beng certainly held nothing back in his charge into the blind side of an unknowing Cyril Künzler
. The Polish winger wouldn't be able to carry on despite the intervening fifteen-minute rest, and would be replaced for the second half by Islom Davlatov
The home side held for a long period following that, with Chua winning more than his fair share of contests, but Grilled were merely revving up gradually. Kovvuru could hardly be faulted for not being able to predict Gilbert Webb
's astounding acrobatic volley in the 67th, which would be matched by some excellent long shooting from Moey and Chu in short order. This had the Birds seven goals up by the 71st minute, and the once-hopeful crowd quietly thinning.
Grilled's modest visiting contingent had of course stayed on, and they were loudly demanding Moey Xin Seng
complete his own hat-trick, with the 29 year-old having tasted his first just over one full season back, in the rout of Joker 9. The team obliged, feeding him the ball whenever possible, and Moey duly banged his third goal home with eleven minutes to go. It then stayed that way until Vikram Mudaliar
notched a ninth in injury time against an unresisting defence, which could have been seen as slightly greedy by some.