Salah High Then Low
The Birds bid goodbye to KingofNoobs United at a barely half-filled Noobs Arena, as they ran up seven goals against the already-relegated club. The state of the rebuilding KingofNoobs was difficult to watch at times, especially for a side that had just come off a seven-season stay in the S-League - including two runners-up finishes to boot. Football waits for no man, so they say, and it was all Grilled could do to make this a honest and largely clean match.
In the past couple of months, KingofNoobs had further dispensed of Teo De Min - once touted as their future core to build around - on the cheap, along with backup midfielder Rashad Wu. While they did hang on to their pride in the form of their top forwards, throwing the likes of an 18 year-old Chau Hock Kim in goal could not help but suggest that they were not very concerned with results.
Grilled however knew better than to take this too lightly, and they restored winger Heng Dong Chu
to the starting XI, along with handing Salah Kamel
his official league debut... that the Palestinian midfielder took just three minutes to parley into his maiden goal for the Birds. Neeraj Muthyala
and Cyril Künzler
dallied over an indirect free-kick, ultimately leaving it for Heng to lump into the box, and Kamel wasn't shy about pulling the trigger, when it fell nicely for him.
The hosts did retain some of their former steel, as evidenced in a four-minute period before Vikram Mudaliar
got to shove it home in the 16th. The drawn-out sequence began with Muthyala's blocked header from a corner kick, which led into several probing dribbles down the left side. Heng would work the last of those into another free-kick, magnificently saved by Chau off Künzler, and yet another corner would be cleared, and finally brought back for Mudaliar for the second goal.
There was then a fairly ugly incident, as Bhavya Panigrahi
went in two-footed on makeshift rightback Chen Wan Qiang. While Panigrahi arguably got the ball too, referee Diego Oliva was rightly disapproving, and Panigrahi could have little to complain about his yellow card, particularly after Chen had to be taken off for Kwek De Jian. KingofNoobs United, too stocked up top to be kept out indefinitely, then lived up to their goal-a-game record through Romanian striker Dan Chiţigoi; Esteban Boned provided the assist coming up the left wing then.
would answer immediately as Ong Yi Yeow's badly-misplaced pass got picked off by the alert forward, and the match would enter something of a lull, for the next forty minutes or so. Mindful that 3-1 wouldn't do all that much for their goal difference, Chan Ze Han
would eventually pester his teammates back into a less compromising mood, and Kalki would add another in the 68th minute, again sprinting from the right side.
's yellow for repeated fouls would then be followed by a successful long-range bazooka from the former Irish international, and then it was Grilled's turn to be on the wrong end of a challenge gone bad in the penalty area. Salah Kamel
, who had been a tireless if less-flashy workhorse after finding the opener, was left bleeding from the brow, after taking the worst of Zhang Yong Huat's forehead. The KingofNoobs man was instantly cautioned, Moey Xin Seng
came on for Kamel, and Cyril Künzler
slid the resulting spot kick home for 1-6.
There would be one more goal, several minutes after Panigrahi went off for Yuta Nakakita
, as Künzler flighted a free-kick under the crossbar, with Chau rooted. The game would then end with Moey bearing the captain's armband, as Radovan Jaška
came on for Chan Ze Han
right before time added on.