N.P.F.C. 5 - 3 [a.e.t] Grilled Birds
International Friendly (Cup Rules), Season 8311 January 2023 20:15 HTT
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Grilled Birds
Chad Thach (81 O.G.)
Ethan Yoder (86)
David Goycochea (93)
David Goycochea (98)
Enrico Torluccio (106)
Paulino Trindade (17)
Teo Chuan Yong (33)
Moey Xin Seng (105)

N P In Extra
Goycochea Recovery

This week's friendly would be in Dublin against Irish III.5 former Consolation Cup holders N.P.F.C., and if the hosts were struggling badly in the league, today's comeback should give Odd Troberg's bunch hopes of better days ahead. All appeared lost as they went two behind for most of the match without appreciable end product at the Birds end, but a Chad Thach mistake towards the end bought them late redemption.
The fates had not been kind to N.P.F.C. in the league at all, with eight consecutive defeats seeing Troberg's head very much at stake, moreover with Enrico Torluccio's goal against Pioners Dragons on Sunday the first that they had scored in all that time. Goalkeepers Vladimir Knežić and Agostinho Maria Matado were, somewhat inexplicably, amongst the few to have emerged with any merit at all, from how little support they had received from their outfielders. Troberg has retained the backing of the board thus far given his mandate to rebuild the squad, but even with Lennert Thienpont providing a bit of a spark up top, salvation seemed unlikely to arrive anytime soon.

São Tomé e Príncipe goalie Matado would be selected for today's friendly, as the Irish side set up in an optimistic 3-4-3. Having been humbled by Karak on Sunday, these Grilled players had an additional reason to achieve a good result, and Paulino Trindade would apply himself especially eagerly from the left. The direct approach certainly had better returns against opposing captain Enrico Mauro Calzavara than the likes of Saleh Abolhassan Jaghbeer, and Trindade would knee a loose ball home after seventeen minutes, following a well-worked free-kick.

Egemen Dinçer Ferzan would try out an unusual furthest-ahead role at right forward today, which would give the N.P.F.C. backline no end of trouble, at least at first. It would be José Luiz Velho's craftiness that led to Grilled's second in the 33rd minute, however, as he went looking for the penalty against a late-arriving Anton Penev - and got it. Teo Chuan Yong took over from there, and waited for Matado to commit himself to his right, before stroking it to the other side.

N.P.F.C. were not short on fight, it had to be said, and Thienpont would live dangerously in the aftermath of Teo's penalty, with several rough-housing events followed up by an ill-tempered snap at Radovan Jaška's knees, which nearly had the two come to blows. Referee Jérôme Barbier had no patience for such nonsense, and finally booked Thienpont. Ethan Blinkhorn then had a great dribble down the left that he sent whistling just wide, that also had Sikko Fetter complain that he had been unfairly manhandled - which only brought him a yellow card too for his pains.

Barbier would have half the N.P.F.C. team accost him after he blew for half-time, but he paid them no mind as he scooted down the tunnel; the second half proceeded with little changing on the pitch, other than Hwang's positional swap with Thach. Grilled were easily in control for large swathes of the match now, and might well have rode it out comfortably, had they not been shaken up by a scare from Brazilian forward José Luiz Velho. The veteran dropped like a sack of potatoes after a hard clash of heads with Argentine sweeper Ariel Goux, and would take some moments to regain consciousness, at which he was immediately stretchered off for his own good.

The long intermission concluded with Moey Xin Seng coming on for the stricken Velho, and soon after, Chirag Thevar replacing Atang Mangoye, who had a good eighty minutes in defence by his own standards. Tian might have regretted this, though, as the ensuing lack of understanding between Thevar and Jaška would allow Enrico Torluccio in. Chad Thach seemed to have it covered as he came from behind to take the ball away, but he then stumbled and prodded it into his own net for 1-2.

Thach and company wouldn't see the funny side of it for long as N.P.F.C. leapt onto the unlikely reducer as their lifeline, and Peter Púpala came frighteningly close with a deceptively-good attempt from way outside the penalty area. Manuel Vadalà might have been relieved to watch that drift narrowly wide, but he would not be smiling any longer, once Ethan Yoder paddled the ball past two defenders to equalize with four minutes remaining. Gandhik Chitre tried to answer that with his own bit of magic at the other end, but Matado got an arm to the youngster's acrobatic strike.

Extra time it was, and in a complete turnaround from before, it was the hosts who asked the questions. Not only that, the Birds turned out to have no answers, as their second-string defence got cruelly exposed. Nobody got near Sikko Fetter when he went up for a corner kick in the 93rd minute, nor for that matter David Goycochea, who found himself with a gimme from three yards. The Argentine would follow that up with a rambunctious run five minutes later, in which he dodged Jaška's tackle at the last instant, to make it 4-2 for his team.

N.P.F.C.'s supporters were bounding now, but their sheer joy would be short-lived, as Ethan Yoder would be laid low by Chad Thach's robust challenge, 103 minutes in. Yoder would have to leave with an icepack applied to his left thigh, which had Turkish playmaker Doruk Karagöz stand in at fullback. It was Grilled's turn to take advantage of a defensive switchup, with Moey Xin Seng taking no chances once he waded into a penalty area melee; he shot once the ball was at his feet, and it bounced awkwardly to get past Matado.

The hosts were not about to allow Grilled back in at this stage, however, and Torluccio would end the argument following an uncompromising sprint down the left side by Púpala. That had the Birds' defensive line scrambling, and not quickly enough to keep the Italian from getting a long leg to it, at the back post.

    Three In The Hole
    The Dragon Conquers
    Lou In The House
    N P In Extra
    Jormungandr Take On Buns
    Last Best West
    Out Of Our Hands
    Lions Biteback
    Survival Six To One
    Prince Of The Bernabéu
2016-08-01 00:37:41
anonymous: Thanks for the special mention :) I would just like to expre...
2015-08-17 18:50:02
anonymous: excellent read as always!- Yjorn
2015-06-13 03:08:41
anonymous: Rasha say
2014-12-14 16:56:39
gilbertlim: well, it seemed like that.
2014-12-12 18:26:33
anonymous: I didn't play a 4-5-2
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