Uzbek II.2 club Torpedo Moynaq came to The Cooking Pot for this morning's workout, and they would leave having drawn a blank again a very sprightly Birds reserve side. Teo Chuan Yong
advertised himself with a tidy opener despite recent indifferent form, which also had Moynaq scupper their own chances in the messy aftermath.
Moynaq had entered into this friendly off the back of a close 2-3 loss to league rivals and former Uzbek cupwinners Traktor Tashkent, but it would be a very different XI that made the flight down to Singapore anyhow. In fact, the visitors would start the match with just a single sub in Abdujalil Karimov, with Spanish gaffer Daniel Antolínez not taking any chances with his starters.
Neither were Grilled for that matter, although Kalki Parvathaneni
would put some half his age to shame, with his appetite for football as he volunteered to start at right forward. This put him directly opposite Moynaq's French captain Lionel Topin, at which they proceeded to mostly neutralize each other for the rest of their respective day.
The 5-5-0 that Moynaq lined up in was not one of their usual formations, from how their fellows kept getting into each others' way, but the sheer density of bodies in their own final third would be enough to keep this not-very-mature Birds team out. Or at least until the 33rd minute, when Teo had arguably his only standout move of the game - a little shoulder drop that sold both defenders on him. He then held the finish until Hayrullo Davlatov started to go down, upon which he blasted it hard to the far top corner and in.
Teo couldn't get out of the way before Davlatov's momentum swept him off his feet, but his writhing on the grass after that would not endear several Moynaq players to him, certain as they were that he was playacting to get their goalkeeper in trouble. Matters came to a head as Mikhail Dubovitskiy made to haul Teo up only to be bumped aside by José Luiz Velho
, and a headbutt would be thrown by Clemens Mindelheim in the ensuing scuffle. Swiss referee Domenico Saturnino could definitely have reported a number of other infractions if he were of a mind to, but he settled for dismissing Mindelheim as a clear warning for those remaining to behave.
That certainly had the effect that the referee wanted, though it also made the contest even less competitive than before, with the visitors now shorn of one of their better defenders. Not that they had anyone up top to keep the Birds honest either, and as such Grilled could afford to press ahead greedily for all they were worth. Enrique Baena
felt free to express himself on the left, and a delicious inswinging through pass fell more than kindly for José Luiz Velho
, who however had begun to move the other way.
No matter, the Birds had chances to spare, and they would make sure of the win with a second goal in the 67th. It had been a thankless day for the Moynaq men, all the more after being forced to continue with a player down, and they would be at sixes and sevens when Teo's free-kick strike came off their wall at speed. Hwang Teck Fu
was first to react, and he scuffed the ball to Mohd Marzuki Khairul
, who forced it home after some brutal shoving.
Grilled were not about to leave the pitch unadmonished on the disciplinary front, as Saturnino felt it proper to award Chad Thach
a yellow card for his late slide in on Hounan Armenakyan, three minutes after Marzuki's goal. Some of the visiting fans were unhappy about that as they felt it no less serious than Mindelheim's foul, but the decision was final, and the Birds rode out of the win after a final substitution of Velho off for Prokop Mottl