Kamel, Chu Show
Belize III.1 club Tsunami JRM made the trip down to The Cooking Pot for Grilled's season-ending friendly, and the Megacyma affiliates would be comprehensively overrun, as the Birds marked their best-ever campaign with a bang. Serpin would try out a relatively loose formation, with Mateja Jeftić
and Bhavya Panigrahi
doing their defending from midfield; at the end, though, it would still be the central tandem of Chu Xin Lee
and Salah Kamel
, who chipped in the most with three goals apiece.
would be entrusted with goaltending duties today, with a 37 year-old Yuta Nakakita
ahead of him, and an explicit emphasis on width here. Tsunami's main men were Polish hitman Władysław Okoniewski and native left winger Antonio Reece, oft connected by German veteran Johannes Nützen. A mishmash of five defenders completed the team, for which Finnish gaffer Olli Rauha has sometimes been queried on his developmental plans.
Well, it was probably not Grilled's place to critique them on such matters, as they expressed themselves on familiar ground instead. Vikram Mudaliar
, more serious than he perhaps ought to have been, went looking for the free-kick against Joe Hinds on his first dribble - and got it. Jeftić would rake it low and wide, but Salah Kamel
needed only a little more time, to come through for the opener in the seventh minute.
Tsunami only increased their commitment to defence at that, and would engage in their fair share of heroics in their own box, at least up to the 20th minute when Kamel got through once again, on a Cyril Künzler
assist. There would then be some switching-up of goalscorers in a very busy two-minute span, with first Mateja Jeftić
making it 3-0 with a well-practised wall pass inside, and then Wu Jinglong
conjuring some wizardry with his right foot, juggling it once before sending it screaming past Carlton Godard.
There would be a brief respite for the visitors, with Grilled perhaps finding themselves a tad too ungenerous, but the lull wouldn't last long at all. Frankly, their spreading of their offensive line from the usual didn't seem to work particularly well in the conventional sense, and it said something that Chu Xin Lee
had to wait almost half an hour before his first real attempt, which was admittedly impeccable. Salah Kamel
's hat-trick would be done with on Grilled's next set-piece arrangement, and Vikram Mudaliar
then copped a booking as he tried to press from the front.
would be withdrawn for the second half with his match fitness clearly not up to scratch, and Radovan Jaška
would be his replacement at the back, with Wu the natural destination for the captain's armband. The former Chinese youth international did seem all but born to it, given his near-unflappable composure, and it took a tremendous block from Godard to deny Wu in the 62nd. Chu kept the scoring going soon enough, as Künzler outstripped a struggling Zygmunt Rajter on the right.
Chu would flirt with the referee's disapproval for playing to the small but partisan crowd on that goal, though they were sporting enough to celebrate Tsunami's only consolation of the day. They would refuse to rush their free-kick, awarded as it was after so much sweat, and Antonio Reece would have to battle to get on the end of Predrag Schwarz's hopeful lob. Okoniewski, who had somehow been left free, gleefully drilled it home, and the only one who looked overly disappointed at this outcome would be Manuel Vadalà
The good feels wouldn't last for too much longer, though, as Joe Hinds broke the spell with a savage tackle on Vikram Mudaliar
, which could have gotten ugly had Mudaliar made more out of it. As it was, Grilled resumed their attacking with renewed vigour, and Chu would have his hat-trick in the 81st minute, before nearly gifting the visitors a second goal with a careless whimsical backpass.