There For The Taking
The final whistle was a bit of an anticlimax for a semifinals, with Grilled having led - if not fully comfortably - for most of the match, and most of the Kang Kong players accepted the outcome willingly enough. Their Czech head coach Augustin Málek would seek the match officials out, apparently to debate Frouin's ruled-out strike, but it was telling that the Swiss defender himself wasn't that all concerned.
kept his assessment of the opposition brief and cordial, as befitted the outcome, but he could not hide his confidence in acknowledging that the Birds were odds-on favourites to lift the trophy, especially after Ah Beng FC upset former winners Marina Sailors 3-0 in the other semis. "We respect them, of course, but it would be a lie if I were to say that I do not expect a win against them."
Indeed, Ah Beng FC's unlikely win owed much to the individual brilliance of Italian forward Aronne Cini, who scored twice from as many attempts. It was something of a wonder that they had managed to weather the Sailors' barrage of shots in the first half in the first place, and Gerome Bolko for one was inconsolable at not having managed to score.
Over to the Farmer Bunnies, they had hosted Turkish IV.54 outfit Subaşıspor at Carrot Field slightly earlier, and the visitors would open the scoring through Polish fullback Jan Kluba, who had impressively dominated Ibrahim Zahran Al-Maashany
for pace earlier on. Xue Kangfang
would immediately equalize, however, and Vishnu Tallapaka
upped it to 3-1, from open play and then a crudely-blasted penalty.
Grilled International had a good day too, as they schooled Japanese IV.33 frontrunners White Weasels 9-1, at the Burung Memorial Stadium. The Hokkaido affiliates of Finland's Saarenmaan Haavanlehdet would gain their consolation through skipper Roger Helppikangas, but the standout would have to be Hardi bin Besar
, who found a hat-trick after coming on as a second-half sub. Tibor Atzenhain
would have to retire in injury time with an ankle concern, but it was luckily found not to be serious.