Kings Paraded Off
East Coast III.15 side Marine Parade Kings could not stand in the Birds' way in the Consolation Cup, and barely mustered a single shot on Manuel Vadalà
as the Birds cruised to a 4-0 result. While Grilled's unremarkable finishing will be of concern to their shooting coach, the sheer volume of chances created ensured that this did not worry them in the slightest.
The Kings' 20 year-old playmaker David Nguyen had bagged a hat-trick in their 6-0 crushing of semi-pro outfit Singapore forever in the last round, but Grilled were a very different prospect. In a match that pitted developing midfields against each other, it would be star power and experience elsewhere, that provided the gap. That, and having a natural counter to Nguyen in Aw Keng Chuan
, didn't hurt either.
Five minutes was on the clock when the Birds recorded their opener, which came as Chan Ze Han
pulled the strings in the middle. Cheah Ho Su had wisely cottoned on the Chan early enough, but his combined efforts together with Damian Rock were not enough to keep Chan from conjuring chances up. A sidefooted flick to the outside would find Paulino Trindade
waiting then, and the São Tomé lad would take one excellent touch, before thrashing it past Filemón Dorrío.
There would be a second in the ninth minute, when Atang Mangoye
hooked the ball out from under several contesting players after a messy corner, and a comedy of errors before the Kings' goalmouth then followed. This was not to take anything from Spanish custodian Filemón Dorrío, who had top-drawer stops off Damian Hutter
and Chan Ze Han
, this half alone; however, Chia Kwang Tse
should really have at least gotten it on target in the 30th, which should have guaranteed a third.
Marine Parade Kings did get a sniff too, thanks to a Mangoye mistake that delivered the ball to Peter Franz well inside his own box - but the Austrian veteran wasn't expecting it either. It was a fairly clean game for all that, and the Kings' Wong Hock Kwang would receive the only booking of the day in the 36th minute, after a mistimed leg in on Trindade. He would help his fallen opponent up despite the card, in a show of good sportsmanship.
With the usual half-time changes and swaps made, the Birds began sharply, but more goals were not forthcoming with Chan coming closest with a solid drive that came off the far post, in the 55th minute. Teo Chuan Yong
would also enter the fray for Bilal Mohammad Harun
five minutes later, which gave the Kings more to worry about, without going into their Finnish forward Sami Ruha tweaking his right knee soon after. This was Hermelando Vallejos' chance to get involved, but like Ruha, he would find himself mostly engaged in fire-fighting in his own territory.
A more-direct approach worked wonders for Gandhik Chitre
soon afterwards, as he jinked past several Kings defenders with none quite believing the audacity of his run - or the lay-off pass that never came. Instead, he managed to stumble past an incredulous Vasil Petrov with the angle having tightened seemingly hopelessly, only to cut back inside with a fierceness that took the defence in. The finish wasn't half-bad either, and it was 3-0.
Teo would go for the supersub role as he imposed himself in the box, and caused Dorrío no end of trouble with a commanding header in the 75th, which required Peter Franz - moonlighting as a defender - to contort himself in clearing to safety. The Austrian striker got his left knee caught in the process, unfortunately, and would be withdrawn for Indonesian winger Marwoto Ohan, as a precaution.
It was fairly clear that the Kings weren't about to get through by now, and they would settle for a calmer approach to the final minutes, understandable given the injuries already sustained. That had Bhavya Panigrahi
enter for Atang Mangoye
with five minutes left, and Panigrahi would duly clean up Kalki's neat cross with his first touch, for his seventh goal of the season. Not bad at all for a 38 year-old defender, one might add!