The Numbers Align
Tokarz The Difference
Mayuyu AKB48 provided one of the Birds' biggest scares for the season, but they were ultimately unable to keep them from earning a tenth straight league victory, even at their 渡辺麻友Dome home. While nowhere close to the 0-6 humiliation that Hotspurs had heaped on them in the sixth week, it was still the same three points for Grilled, with Chan Ze Han
again responsible for sticking it in when it counts.
Having just again been smashed 1-7 away at Hotspurs, Mayuyu would head into today's match perhaps a little downcast, although it should be noted that they had won all their other matches excepting their trip to The Cooking Pot, which has them currently sitting pretty in third. Quite a bit of this could be attributed to the form of Hungarian hitman Hunor Inczédi, whose eight goals thus far might have put him in serious Golden Boot contention, in another league.
Grilled would be led out by a Chan Ze Han
who had already racked up twice that amount, however, but Mayuyu could cling on to Inczédi's hat-trick in the reverse fixture as proof that the Birds could be brought down. Mohd Marzuki Khairul
would start for Grilled as Tian Yonghang
intended to take the game to the home side, and with Joe Reece
and Orest Tokarz
supporting Chan, he definitely had enough striking power to make their fans worry.
It mostly went as Tian had wanted from the start, as the Birds tore into the Mayuyu lines with scant regard, with Federico Parada
as the prime mover. Some improvised wing-switching had Egemen Dinçer Ferzan
put in the first shot on target in the seventh minute, a grounder straight at Philip Boestlinger; the Swiss goalie would tip Chan's lob over six minutes on, but the Grilled legend would not miss again when Parada played him in after 21 minutes.
Mayuyu were not without their own weapons on the flanks, and Parada's assertiveness would be turned back on him in the 27th minute, with Florian Aschaber enjoying a clear run after the Bolivian winger tried too hard to force a dribble. The volume rose appreciably as Aschaber streaked down their right wing looking for teammates, and Inczédi would gamely let the pacy pass through for Joonas Ahola, who first-timed it past Dimitris Germanakos
The initiative remained mostly with the Birds as Lim An Keng
pulled the strings expertly, and Grilled would end the half a goal up, with Chan unable to refuse a second, after being fed on a plate by the young midfielder on the half-hour. Orest Tokarz
would be a bit selfish five minutes later as he shielded the ball from all comers after receiving it several yards inside the box, but the visiting fans certainly would not have complained had he managed to place it just a bit more to the left.
A draw was definitely hardly out of Mayuyu's reach with Lucas Wauquier looking good whenever he got time on the ball too, and they would rouse their support minutes into the second half. Chia Kwang Tse
had replaced Marzuki in the meantime, and fitted in seamlessly with Grilled again getting it to their forwards with regularity. Joe Reece
was not short on confidence after last week's brace, but his attempt to catch Boestlinger out from range was maybe a little optimistic.
Worse, the rushed effort provided Mayuyu with a counterattack with many of their men already in good positions inside Grilled's half, and Aschaber would have the run of the right after dodging Parada, and then Damian Hutter
's hasty challenge. The pass was again headed for Hunor Inczédi, and he would propel himself onto it this time - shrugging off Aw Keng Chuan
as if he wasn't there - for a forceful finish.
That made it two-all 52 minutes in, but the Mayuyu fans wouldn't have long to enjoy themselves, as Orest Tokarz
cut their chants short with a reply on Grilled's first possession afterwards. Ferzan kept it simple with a cross once he got a clear look, but this directness was just what the burly Pole was after, as he held off Luis Bique to supply an awkward - but successful - touch.
Mayuyu were thus forced back on the defensive, with Grilled eager to make sure, as they tamped the pace down for added control. Boestlinger denied Chan from a free-kick in the 74th to more acknowledgement from the spectators, and Mayuyu then nearly caught the Birds on another counter after a great stop off Damian Hutter
some seven minutes later. Inczédi settled for their own free-kick just outside the penalty area, and Luis Bique gave Germanakos pause, as he flashed the ball inches wide of the far top corner.
Chan wasn't about to be upstaged in this regard, but a hat-trick was not forthcoming, as he curled it painfully close on Grilled's next attack. Tian had seen enough, and it would be Bhavya Panigrahi
and Gandhik Chitre
to exploit his remaining substitutions, to take the Birds closer to a very useful three points.