Madriz Pressed Out
Teo & Toma Tag
Grilled Birds' final friendly of an underwhelming season saw them back in Nicaragua after 43 long years, and they would return victorious as they had against Formula 1 then, again Madriz C.F.. Madriz were freshly promoted from Division Three after a perfect run of fourteen league wins, and Cambodian head coach Sun Phann would maintain his preparations for new challenges, by not risking his top stars today. German veteran right winger Dušan Stevanović would captain their team, with the young homegrown defensive pair of Domingo Arámbula and Luis Jimeno Madrigal probably their biggest attractions otherwise of the day.
Sun's intention to assess his side's pressing abilities was soon evident, as they all but welcomed Grilled to run into their massed lines, but it was not as if they weren't capable of some sharp offensives themselves. A rapid drive down the right saw Stevanović cross for Benicio Davalillo on the opposite wing, but Gilbert Webb
did well to get in the way of a possible first-time volley, and Davalillo would have to watch the ball bounce just ever-so-wide, after he reset himself for the shot.
Worse, that had Madriz's defence emerge from their shell for once, and Heng Dong Chu
would threaten from the counter, only to be hauled down by Enrique Galavis just outside the penalty area. Webb would line the free-kick up for a shot, but Douglas Carapaica
then played it short on the run-up instead of stepping over it, as most had expected him to. There would be a few close-cut passes inside the box as the Birds sought an opening, which ended when Teo Chuan Yong
bundled it past goalie Arturo José Bautista, if rather messily.
Badly bitten by their experience, the home team would revert to their original full-on defensive stance, and in truth their commitment to closing down the Birds players as soon as they came into possession, was quite commendable. However, when a good counterattacking opportunity came by in the 21st minute, they would find themselves undercommitting, and Stevanović would find himself without any support in the Grilled penalty area; he would eventually be forced to take it on himself under heavy guard, and unsurprisingly skied it.
Madriz did end the first half looking the team more likely to score, with Domingo Arámbula next to break through about the 28th minute, only to doff it weakly to Manuel Vadalà
; Dante Tran
then got the only card of the day, for a pointless takedown of Giorgio Avellano. Sun had seen enough from Stevanović, and he would be replaced by the 22 year-old Adrián Morillo for the second half, with the armband passing to Davalillo.
Grilled would make their changes too, with Moey and Kalki again in for Teo and Heng, and Kalki would again outshine the supposed specialist from left wing. Enrique Galavis had quite a bit more trouble against the Number Ten's deceptively-direct style than he had against Heng, and this would lead to the Birds' second goal in the 56th minute. Having left Galavis in the dust, Kalki would go on to seek the runner at the back post, which happened to be Toma Tamiya
. He didn't miss.
That would be the end of the match as entertainment at least, if not as a competitive thing. Madriz would refuse to even consider advancing much past the halfway line after this, and it would turn out to be a slog to the finish, whereby they made a parting double substitution.