Grilled Birds 5 - 3 Arrogancae
Cup (Round of 16), Season 7418 March 2020 04:30 HTT
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Grilled BirdsArrogancae
Chan Ze Han (2)
Vikram Mudaliar (4)
Chan Ze Han (8)
Chan Ze Han (16)
Neeraj Muthyala (75)
Gholi Charkhchian (54)
László Szetei (65)
László Szetei (76)

Season 72D2 - 2League
Season 72L5 - 0League
Season 71L3 - 5Cup
Season 57L2 - 4Tournament (Group Phase)
Season 52W6 - 0Tournament (Playoffs)

Chan's Pride
Sixteen Minute Masterclass

It would be 5-3 at the end, but this Cup quarterfinals had mostly been settled by the 16th minute, as an irresistable Chan Ze Han had plundered Arrogancae for a hat-trick by then. The defending S-League champions had lost but the one game in their previous eight competitive fixtures, and that a 1-2 loss to Georgian Erovnuli Liga winners italianità, six days ago. Certainly, their backline had never looked quite as rickety in recent memory - despite having five men - as in this firecracker of a start.
In their defence, Uruguayan head coach Pablo Reznik had emphasized that the league title remained their priority, thus the resorting to a 5-3-2 formation, instead of their more-accustomed 3-5-2 or 2-5-3. Reznik had, recall, pulled off a similar tactic three seasons ago in the Ruby Challenger Cup semis, in which they held Grilled 3-3, before getting two more goals in extra time. With a 5-0 home win and a 2-2 away draw in the S-League after that, it was difficult to argue that Reznik didn't have Grilled's measure.

They would be up against a Grilled XI riding high on the back of a ten-win wave, however, and if expert opinion had been very mixed about who would prevail, it wouldn't take very long for any doubts to be quashed. Arrogancae would allow Grilled to rotate the ball amongst themselves almost languidly for the first minute, only to be caught flatfooted as half the Birds team scattered on individual runs; Moey Xin Seng had only to shield it from Gholi Charkhchian while sizing up his many options, and he would thread it through to Chu Xin Lee, who in turn released Chan Ze Han with a deceptive flick. Chan, who had timed his dash past Bastian Tülff perfectly, went on to stroke it in off the far post.

Former Venezuelan national goalie Felipe Porras' nightmare was only starting, as he conceded a second goal barely two minutes later, as Arrogancae's extra numbers at the back proved to be more false security than anything. There were three men around Vikram Mudaliar as he picked up the ball several yards outside the box, but none of those moved sufficiently to block him in the couple of seconds afterwards. Mudaliar had by then surged inside, and despite the narrowing angle, he managed to let rip a powerful effort high into the near end of goal.

This was definitely not what Pablo Reznik had envisioned, but he understandably appeared at a loss as to what the correct response was. Arrogancae were already set up more defensively than they had any business being, and the disruption that would be caused by reverting to their usual style after barely five minutes had to be exceedingly risky, to say the least. It was, then, all Reznik could do to gesture furiously at his players to keep their heads, and hope for the best.

It wouldn't happen, as Grilled continued pouring forward mercilessly; they had found an approach that worked, and were jolly well going to keep plugging at it until it didn't. Chan would find the perfect dipping header to make it 3-0 in the eighth minute, and the pattern of squares continued, as he completed his hat-trick with an exuberant dribble in the 16th.

Next to none of Arrogancae's support in the stands could remember the last time their team had been run so ragged, possibly not even in the 0-5 league defeat the Mia San Toa Payoh two seasons back. The Birds displayed no signs of pulling their punched, and could easily have been five up had Kalki Parvathaneni's excellent attempt after 27 minutes been a foot lower.

Arrogancae finally begun operating as they were meant to, and began putting some decent counterattacks together, but the unsaid understanding was that this had come far too late for them. Neeraj Muthyala continued putting them on notice, with a grounder off the left post soon after the restart, before Arrogancae got one back through Gholi Charkhchian's fierce left-footed finish in the 54th. Gilbert Webb wasn't at his best against Jan Tim Liebenstein, and had been overrun for the assist.

Chan Ze Han had no intentions of letting that one go, and he should really have had another goal after 64 minutes, with perhaps his best strike of the game. Porras was equal to it on this occasion, though, and Arrogancae seized upon the opportunity for another fast break. The Birds were woefully overestended, and with the speedy pair of Inesan Kwansah and Nicola Abis clearing the way, Romanian forward László Szetei was afforded an easy one-on-one against Massoud Dob.

Hovaness Noubaryan was beginning to get concerned, with Grilled's lead down to two and Arrogancae sidling into the driving seat. There had been some finger-pointing between Dob and Bhavya Panigrahi for that second goal, and Panigrahi's composure took a turn for the worse, and he messed up his first touch on a routine square pass. While Panigrahi averted disaster with an immediate overreaction on Kwansah, this left him with a clear yellow card.

Just when it was appearing that Arrogancae might just make up the difference, Neeraj Muthyala chipped in with Grilled's fifth, as Moey Xin Seng led a strong charge through the middle. Muthyala was actually the third one to have a go then, after Moey's own attempt had been painfully blocked by Prohar Kryvec, and Bilal Mohammad Harun's coming off the unknowing Kalki Parvathaneni.

László Szetei would answer with another good shot from, this time from the left, but time was not on Arrogancae's side. Heng Dong Chu would willingly serve as a hassling terrier, having come on as a substitute for Bernie Egan for the last ten minutes, and Grilled saw it out without undue excitement.

    Premijeri Recruit Zamri
    Sword Versus Shield
    Valuable Information
    Chan's Pride
    Final Four Ho
    Automat No Match
    Sarcasm Too Heavy
    Auksas Unadjusted
    Sansalvador Returns
    Very Vadalà
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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