Back To The Dance
The Birds put last season's 0-4 defeat to Mayuyu AKB48 behind them with an edifying display at The Cooking Pot today, though it would the visitors' Hungarian striker Hunor Inczédi, to shine the brightest this mildly sunny day. Inczédi had failed to find the net in each of his previous four starts in this fixture, but it would be a day to break new ground indeed, as the recently-turned-thirty forward hit a rich vein of form.
This was a mostly-unchanged 4-4-2 from the side that had humbled Grilled so towards the tail end of the previous season, with the sole change being Florian Aschaber in on the right flank, over the benched Gilbert Stepp. The Birds, of course, boasted of a refreshed supporting cast for Chan Ze Han
up top, with Joe Reece
and Ibnou Balde
up for it today. Federico Parada
had also established himself as the starting left winger, or so it seems, with Enrique Baena
having to wait for some other time, to get back in contention.
There would be no dawdling for the Birds, who needed little reminding of their previous defeat, from the bawdy visiting stands. Grilled had a youthful vitality about their attack that had gone missing from recent squads, and Lim An Keng
needed no motivation to try lifting it towards Chan with a rabona in the second minute, which would have been memorable had the latter gotten it on target. They definitely enjoyed themselves anyway, and Parada's inspired dribbling up the left would soon result in a knock-on for Mohd Marzuki Khairul
, eleven minutes in. Marzuki took the measure of an onrushing Philip Boestlinger calmly, before slipping it just past his planted foot for 1-0.
Mayuyu were left grasping at straws as Grilled upped their attacking intent, now increasingly directed at the aging Luis Bique in Mayuyu's central defence. Tian had taken steps to fix Grilled's own vulnerabilities in this regard with his picking of Aw Keng Chuan
to partner Damian Hutter
today, and Bique would prove quite raceable indeed, with Ibnou Balde
taking him on successfully for a banger of a second goal. Hutter then reminded of his more exciting side with an inside-out long-range pass two minutes later, again to Balde, but the Senegalese striker's control would fail him this time.
It was looking very uncomfortable for the visitors at this stage, but they turned it half-around in seconds, from the merest whiff of a half-chance. Aschaber had not followed Parada on his latest deep dribble, and would thus be in a great position to bring the ball up a considerable distance, as Mayuyu broke forward on their right wing. Hunor Inczédi appeared to be under Aw's close watch as the ball approached, but a sudden burst of speed had Aw a step behind when it mattered, and Inczédi didn't need a second touch to lob it over Dimitris Germanakos
Chan Ze Han
wasn't about to be upstaged that easily on his own ground, and the Birds superstar duly extended his record of having scored in every league match thus far. He had been selflessly playing second fiddle to Balde especially before this, but there would be that special glint in his eye, when Khairul dealt the ball towards him at pace in the 31st minute. A faked pass was bought by Wauquier as Chan swung inside, and Bique's attempt at heading him off were doomed, with Chan going past him the other way to make it 3-1 easily.
That was it for the half, and also for Ibnou Balde
, as Tian Yonghang
brought Orest Tokarz
on to offer a different type of threat for the rest of the game. Hunor Inczédi stole the show a few minutes after the restart, however, with Grilled getting a little lazy on the ball. Lim An Keng
was forced into a questionable release that was picked off by Prusina, and Hunor Inczédi then read his teammate's mind perfectly, as he peeled off to the outside with his run. That made the angle pitifully small, but Inczédi somehow still managed to put it between Germanakos and the near post, to make this a one-goal game again.
It felt much more within reach for Mayuyu now, and they would come close to levelling it several times with Inczédi absolutely flying, and Antonio Olivieri also picking it up on the left. Germanakos would choose this time to make a statement with some top saves, though, and this went on until Asier Burboa tried to take a dive in the 59th minute, for which he was immediately booked by the unamused Sander Johnsen. There would be no mercy for Chad Thach
when he pushed a Mayuyu player aside to get the ball for a throw-in a bit later either, which mollified the opposition fans some.
The winds would start blowing the other way as Grilled had Parada on the prowl again, and he came close to an assist for Chan in the 71st minute, with the Number Eleven placing it just outside the top far corner of goal. No more mistakes were made seven minutes later, as Chan espied the slimmest of routes incising a packed Mayuyu penalty box, and executed the dribble and shot flawlessly. By the time Orest Tokarz
shoved his way to a fifth goal in the 82nd, it felt all over for Mayuyu.
Not so fast though, with Grilled not eager to run out their triumph so quickly either. Chan's exit - robbing him of an opportunity to complete a hat-trick - was not well-received by the home crowd, Kalki Parvathaneni
's own considerable popularity notwithstanding, with Hwang Teck Fu
also subbed on for Aw. Tokarz would ripple the side-netting with an unrestrained pound in the last minute, but it would be Hunor Inczédi to join the exclusive ranks of opposition players with a treble at the pot, with his elegant finish at the death from Mayuyu's last-gasp counterattack.