LABOUM To The Slaughter
Heng Heads Out
It might have taken 115 starts for Grilled Birds' beleaguered left winger Heng Dong Chu
, but he would finally have a hat-trick of his own, claimed today against Ang Mo Kio amateurs LABOUMLYZ. Not exactly the most distinguished of opponents to attain the feat against, but it would be any port in a storm for Heng here.
Scarcely less could have been expected with the Birds having reserved what was essentially their first team for this Singapore Cup opener, and even the home fans at the packed stadium arrived already accepting the worse - which probably explained their odd reaction to the Birds' goals. Local head coach Goh Dong figured that it was pointless to delay the inevitable, and led by part-time painter and captain Raja Hakim Mustafa, LABOUMLYZ would seek to try their usual game, in a 3-4-3. It thus took just three minutes for Vikram Mudaliar
to make it one-nil, and through goalkeeper Bill Chon's legs too.
The home support would put up sarcastic applause at that en masse, having likely arranged it beforehand, and they would get to do it a lot more over the course of the demolition - nine more times, to be precise. Kalki Parvathaneni
didn't take long to clip a neat Chan Ze Han
layoff past Chon next, as the hosts were torn asunder by professional pace. Few had more of that than Kalki, and he would unselfishly turn provider for his main competitor on the flanks - Heng Dong Chu
- in the 20th minute, after forcing Jourdan Tang back by the mere threat of his presence.
There was not really too much to read into Grilled's proficiency here, with it being a total mismatch. Neither Mustafa nor Manish Padukone, LABOUMLYZ's best performers, could hold on to it for long themselves, on the rare occasions that they got to touch the ball. Kalki would run onto Bilal Mohammad Harun
's teasing through pass for 4-0 in the 22nd minute, Salah Kamel
scooped it just over the bar, and the home team then got a welcome respite when Mukhtar Azza got clipped in his calf. After a leisurely checkup by LABOUMLYZ's physio, veteran reserve Pan Yun Shi would enter... right in time for Mudaliar and Chan to up it to six.
There was no stopping Kalki from getting his hat-trick, it seemed, other than not being on the field - and that was just what happened, with Teo Chuan Yong
taking his place for the second half. Not that it changed much about the general flow of the match, save for Heng Dong Chu
getting called into action a fair bit more. Heng would switch flanks to double up in the 51st minute, and there wasn't anything the defence was going to do against that. That would be seven, with some forty minutes remaining.
LABOUMLYZ defender Affandy Husain Khairul Akmal would later joke that this was one of the worst days of his career, but in truth there wasn't much shame in a teacher - and a language one, at that - to be scalped twice by Vikram Mudaliar
for pace; that made the former national striker's thirteenth hat-trick as a pro.
If the Birds had seen quite a few of those, however, there would be something fresh and new in store for them. Chu Xin Lee
would score on the next attack with an attempt from range, but even that would be quickly forgotten, as Heng Dong Chu
tried much the same on his turn - and Chon let it slip past him. A goalkeeping error it might have been, but that would also be the first time that he had ever scored thrice in a game. He knew it too, from the outsized celebrations that flirted with a yellow card.
Double digits was more than enough for Hilal Bakhtiar
, who after witnessing Udhayanidhi Shenoy's dangerous jump in on Chan Ze Han
, would signal for his men to take it easy. Still, Mudaliar and Kamel could have made it more, but had good efforts cleared off the line in both cases.