There would be no trouble at all for Grilled Birds in the second round of the Singapore Cup, with longstanding grassroots amateur club FC Clementi dismissed handily, after they had sprung a big 5-3 upset against III.4 leaders WhereGotTimeFC. Both of their Zhuang Ze Ze's - the club is understandably noted for having two forwards with the same Romanized English name - scored last Wednesday, but they would find the Birds out of their league.
This fact was evident after a few minutes of play, and the plucky underdogs would soon find their 3-4-3 compressed into what was essentially a 7-2-1, that left new boy Ni Yi-Qun fighting forlornly by himself in Grilled's half. The Clementi home fans that filled the 12000-capacity Clementi Road weren't expecting too much, and as such there were not too many untoward expressions, when Cyril Künzler
forged through on the right side to pot a stinger, after seven minutes.
Clementi would soon be back level - but arguably not on their own merits - as Chu Xin Lee
made one of the most mind-blowing mistakes of his career. He apparently hadn't noticed that goalkeeper Manuel Vadalà
had shuffled to the side to adjust the taping on his gloves - quite reasonably, given Grilled were firmly in possession - when Chu struck a hard backpass straight into the net on autopilot. The home support definitely enjoyed the mix-up, as both Chu and Vadalà were left shrugging helplessly at each other.
Fortunately, this error wouldn't matter in such an unbalanced match, and Grilled duly made it 3-1 barely five minutes later, to put Chu's mind at ease. Vikram Mudaliar
raced through like a man on a mission from the restart, and Bernie Egan
helped a corner kick on for Bilal Mohammad Harun
's point-blank conversion, on Grilled's next corner. Clementi custodian Sze Ma Phong hadn't exactly been covering himself in glory, having gotten nowhere close to Grilled's goals, but he did reject Moey Xin Seng
's 26th minute drive with some aplomb.
The pace of the game would slow down a notch or two, up until Bernie Egan
's 39th minute header to the top corner from a free-kick. There would then be another horrendous misunderstanding between Vadalà and a teammate - once again probably not his fault - as the goalkeeper's right of way wasn't recognized by Cyril Künzler
, as they hastened to a loose ball. The mutual wipeout took both of them out, and required a double substitution for Dob and Heng; the ball had at least gone out for a corner then, so Clementi couldn't profit this time.
Moey would add a fifth to put that unhappy episode behind the team, and Kalki Parvathaneni
came on for Egan at half-time, with Eren Serpin
apparently unconcerned about possibly having to play at a reduced headcount. Clementi grew into the contest somewhat, and actually wouldn't allow any shots on target for the next twenty-five minutes, save for perhaps Neeraj Muthyala
's 51st minute effort. The senior Zhuang Ze Ze would collect the match's first yellow in the 69th minute, for rough play on Heng Dong Chu
; Heng got his own back immediately, as he ran onto the ensuing free-kick for 6-1.
Two more goals would be forthcoming from the Birds, as Kalki and then Moey scored in succession, with about five minutes remaining. The Grilled captain had been their best player for the day, without a doubt, but his quest for a hat-trick would be continually frustrated. What appeared like the third goal would be ruled out in the 86th, with Moey then booked for venting his frustrations, and Sze would come out with another excellent stop to deny Moey in injury time.