Ole Ole Ole`
The Birds indulged in a comparatively slow-paced friendly hosted by Senegalese II.2 side 95 Ole`, who had just come down from the Teranga Ligue 1, and moreover are just two seasons off their Trophée Rubis haul. The departure of some of their biggest stars, such as Denis Huleux, Faraji Abdi and Tuomas Mäntypuro, has however slashed their competitiveness greatly, and they are currently sitting pointless in the league with relegation all but assured.
Against this backdrop, it would have been slightly unsporting were Grilled to have gone all out, and they would field a number of reserves together with the likes of Chan Ze Han
. Bhavya Panigrahi
and Gilbert Webb
started in midfield together with Radovan Jaška
, with veteran Yuta Nakakita
captaining the team in his preferred defensive spot.
Yuta would have plenty of freedom to move about under such circumstances, and he would gain the distinction of putting the Birds' first shot on target, as he tested Carlos José in the eighth minute with a reasonably fierce drive. The first half-hour would be roughly balanced, and a near-miss by Davlatov would be matched by similarly-close shaves from Ngouda N'Dao and player-coach Ivar Nordengen. Manuel Vadalà
was probably lucky on that latter effort, as he seemed to have misjudged the bend of the free-kick.
The red-shirted hosts would lose some steam after that period, and there were hints that they had overapplied themselves, such as when Pape Keryka got booked for nearly getting Yuta's jersey off his back, in the 32nd minute. Still, they could take some consolation on remaining level - but not for long, as José Luiz Velho
came in hard and fast on Chan's sudden pull forward, and managed to get in on the initial block.
It was two several minutes on, as Bhavya Panigrahi
- recall, suspended from Sunday's league game - made further suggestions as to his versatility, as he read Grilled's attacking pattern from the right wing just so. Chan Ze Han
was again the provider, as he fed Panigrahi for the shot. Islom Davlatov
was eager to get in on the scoring too, and had a powerful grounder bombing inside from the left, but that came off the outside of the post.
36 year-old Jérémy Tarin
would come on for a stretch of the legs in the second half, for the largely-indifferent Mohd Jafni Abdul Majid
, not that the defender had many chances to stand out. Grilled kept on as they had with Nordengen largely unable to marshall an effective defence, and Carlos José would bail them out time and again, such as in the 51st minute from Prokop Mottl
's sharp header. He seemed to be well beaten by Chan's deflected lob awhile later, but got lucky on the bounce with that.
As it turned out, this only delayed Grilled's third goal, as Chirag Thevar
stuffed it into the onion bag from another close-ranged stop off Davlatov, who reacted best to the corner delivery. There were only a couple of half-chances following that as the Birds wound down, and a dissatisfied Davlatov would get booked for an unwarranted late tackle.