Grilled Birds 5 - 2 International CAT F.C.
Cup, Consolation Quarterfinals, Season 8629 November 2023 05:15 HTT
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SCORING SUMMARY
Grilled BirdsInternational CAT F.C.
Chan Ze Han (35)
Gandhik Chitre (42)
Brian Reddy (78)
Chan Ze Han (90)
Hwang Teck Fu (91)
Brandon Iwasaki (17)
Law Chin Cheng (19)

FIXTURE HISTORY
Season 84W1 - 2Cup

Out Of Lives Again
First Responder Chan

Grilled had edged International CAT F.C. 2-1 in the main cup two seasons ago, and it was the same story for the II.4 members today, though it had looked curtains for the Birds for a time as they tore their backline to ribbons. It was then left to old reliable Chan Ze Han to calm nerves and plot a comeback, and after drawing level by half-time, Grilled's possession game really came to the fore, and secured them three more goals to take them through to the Sapphire semifinals.
The Cats had done well to secure survival in Division Two after a couple of sixth-placed finishes, and young head coach Siu Kuan Puay had traded wisely since the clubs' last meeting; other than the eight-figure signing of wing star Chew Ying Dong, Bukit Regency goalkeeper Calen Hashimoto had been expected to be a fixture, until his sudden replacement by former Swedish youth international Georg Westerland, who made his cup debut here today. A S$19.7 million signing from Cameroon II.1 side Cameroon Shooters, it was no exaggeration to state that Westerland's presence had to have affected Tian Yonghang's planning for the game.

If it did, however, Tian showed no signs of it at least with his starting XI, as he fielded his usual secondary three of Chan Ze Han, Ibnou Balde and Gandhik Chitre. Lim An Keng would be chosen over Damian Hutter as Ha Qicai's partner in defence again, but this was soon shown not to be a permanent solution, as 19 year-old Teo Yao Heng caught Lim out with a blind forward pass after getting boxed in. A more natural centreback should have been watching out for that, but Lim wasn't one, and Brandon Iwasaki coolly got on the tail of the ball to clip it past Dimitris Germanakos.

It went from bad to worse as the Cats doubled their lead two minutes later, as Brian Reddy's energetic effort to get things going down the right, was smothered by superior numbers. Li Puay Tong sparked the counterattack from just behind the midway line, and he had several men open by the time he homed in on the penalty area. Iwasaki was the best placed but well-covered on the inside, and Li thus made to stroke it long to Peter Sidenmo... only for Law Chin Cheng to take everyone unawares by bolting in and ripping it hard down the middle for 2-0.

Sidenmo didn't mind this turn of events as his team were now heavy favourites to make it through, all the more as their back three had been fairly comfortable against Grilled's entreaties thus far. 25 year-old former Robbie Football Club trainee Mohd Hairul Nizam Uthman clearly had a physical advantage over Chan Ze Han, who was thirteen years his senior, but that would not avail him forever. 35 minutes in, Chan sneakily doubled back right as the ball got to Chia Kwang Tse, and the through pass he was inviting came through as he desired. It was then a one-on-one versus Westerland, and age won out with a shimmy transformed smoothly into a toepoke finish.

Law's tantrum in midfield contrasted sharply with Chan's subdued celebrations as the Cats midfielder protested what he felt was an unfair bodycheck in the lead-up to the goal, but Norwegian referee Atle Sæle had heard enough after the first two recountings, and warned Law off with a yellow card. It was Chitre to have it all square in the 42nd minute next after Federico Parada had drawn the entire Cats backline leftwards, though Cats did have a good chance to recover the lead as Jeen Aandewiel swung a twenty-yarder just wide on another swift counter, this time down the right.

There was all to play for after forty-five minutes, then, and it remained very much an open question as to which team would live to fight another day in this competition. Although the Birds were hogging the ball near seventy percent of the time by now, the Cats remained quite lethal whenever they retrieved it, especially if they could catch Grilled's wingers advancing overly. The mindgames between Reddy and Li Puay Tong were a sight to behold, as the Number Sevens battled for marginal positional advantages with a blazing intensity.

Big chances were becoming terribly hard to come by with Grilled's forward quality not quite living up to the supply, and it was all Chan Ze Han could do, to get a nose ahead of his marker 61 minutes in - only for Westerland to flaunt his reflexes. The struggle out wide continued with Li apparently getting the upper leg in the 76th, after Reddy was booked for bringing him down from behind, but it was the latter who got the breakthrough in the end. Two minutes later, Reddy switched flanks to devastating impact, as he flew past one defender and then another, to fire a sweet curler just outside Westerland's stretching dive, into the far post.

Grilled Birds would thus lead for the first time in the 78th minute, which had an unavoidably demoralizing effect on their opponents, despite Iwasaki exhorting his teammates to keep their chins up. It didn't help that Grilled could sit on the ball patiently now, and with the Cats forced to chase, real gaps would start to open up in their formation. They managed to stay in it as Federico Parada swung inside on the dribble 83 minutes in, only to hit it inches high on the bobble.

Still, International CAT F.C. were nowhere closer to making up the goal they needed, and with only two minutes of added time, there was nothing for it but to press up in force on Westerland's goal-kick... only to have it backfire on them, as Chan Ze Han made the most of a return breakaway down the left, right before being substituted by Teo Chuan Yong, with Bilal making a rare appearance for Balde. Teo had barely had time to pull the armband on before Hwang Teck Fu burst through for another, which had Mohd Marzuki Khairul all smiles as he left in turn for Aw Keng Chuan.







      
     
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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
Thankssssssssssss
www.kfs.edu.eg
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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