Another Chu Knock
Belarus III.6 frontrunners Bely Legion(sapraudny) couldn't deny the visiting Grilled Birds on home ground, but they wouldn't fall alone either, as they struck three goals past Eren Serpin
and crocked Chu Xin Lee
into the bargain. It should be recognized that they had rested many of their best players, most prominently league top scorer Kristóf Ludmann. That said, 20 year-old Italian forward Angelo Rovatti did start, and he has been described as one to watch; in midfield, tall Serbian Ðorđe Mišković acted as enforcer, as Elias Kontturi went for the 3-4-3.
It worked early on too, as Bely concentrated their efforts on the left early on, as Manfred Herrling proved pacy enough to have Kalki Parvathaneni
wary. Grilled couldn't quite get a handle on their opponents' passing behaviour, with the Legionnaires being rather free in their invention. The Birds' third-string defence would be entirely bemused as Gustav Flückiger held off several beckoning options to run straight at them, not that the Swiss midfielder was wrong, as he slotted it nicely through the legs of Serpin.
Grilled's backline continued to struggle, and the restart saw Jérémy Tarin
booked for dragging Jan Mielnik back, though he did take care to do the dirty deed outside the penalty area. Attack-wise, the Birds would hold their own, and they were level a few minutes later, in the 13th. Kalki Parvathaneni
was certainly much more comfortable going in the forward direction, and his drilled cross was well-dummied by Pompeo Bellamoli
, leaving Moey Xin Seng
to knock it past the distracted Emin Muhammet Oraltan in goal.
Both teams could have seized the initiative after that, as Tarin smashed a promising free-kick into the last man in the wall, which turned into a counterattack that produced a similar opportunity for Bely; Pavol Burianek's conservative curler was far too soft to trouble Serpin, though. It would be left for Vikram Mudaliar
to send Grilled ahead in the 20th minute, as the Number Nine thrived in his relatively withdrawn role.
It was then curtains for Chu Xin Lee
, who had just returned from a minor knee injury, only to hurt his left wrist badly in breaking a fall. The Grilled medic quickly determined it best for Chu not to carry on, and Bhavya Panigrahi
replaced him. Jérémy Tarin
then made it 3-1 as Grilled pressed the attack, with debuting trainee Valadar Dudzich then yellow carded for arguing persistently for offside.
Dudzich couldn't resist taking it up with the linesman as the game adjourned for half-time, before having some sense delivered to him by Spanish captain David Curto. The restart saw Grilled pin Bely down along a wide front, and it would take the combined powers of Felix Welkertswiesen and Pavol Burianek to prevent Prokop Mottl
busting inside. They didn't count on José Luiz Velho
cheekily dispossessing his teammate, however, and even Mottl had to admit that it was kinda funny, after Velho polished it off nicely.
Bely began to reimpose themselves with renewed vigour down their favoured left side, and although Grilled tried to respond in kind, they weren't ready for just how strongly the hosts were willing to press the overload. This allowed Bely to come back to within a single goal, with David Curto first scrambling home a cross that everybody else had missed, in the 58th minute. Several minutes on, there was no mistaking Ðorđe Mišković's intent, as he rose majestically over Kohei Okuya
to meet Herrling's delivery early on the rise. Eren Serpin
was caught flatfooted, as the header dropped in off his far post.
The rally was ultimately short-lived, as the Birds gave as good as they got, with Kalki again the architect on that busiest of flanks. Bernie Egan
made as if to shoot after staking out a position with a clever first touch, only to nudge it forward for his skipper to do the deed; Hovaness Noubaryan
was nodding at that on the sidelines. With twenty minutes left, the Grilled head coach used his remaining substitutions, retiring Velho and Bellamoli for Hoàng Trung Quá
and Leonard Nguyen
This led into mostly one-way traffic for Grilled, and Kalki Parvathaneni
would up the score to 6-3 in the 80th, courtesy of a nicely-timed cut to the inside. Valadar Dudzich looked ready to protest that, but wisely held his tongue. There could have been another in injury time, as Bernie Egan
had a go from Mudaliar's good knockdown, but he put it a couple of yards over.