All Stars Team 3 - 2 Grilled Birds
Cup, Consolation (Round of 16), Season 8713 March 2024 05:15 HTT
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All Stars TeamGrilled Birds
Vadivel Shetty (20)
James Gill (24)
Adrian Ceparu (47)
Hwang Teck Fu (22)
Phua Ming Xin (55)

Season 86L1 - 3Tournament (Playoffs)
Season 56W2 - 4League
Season 56W4 - 0League
Season 55D0 - 0League
Season 55W2 - 4League

No Frunz And Games
Ceparu Front

East Coast high-fliers frunzelax knocked the Birds out of the Round of Sixteen of the Sapphire Challenge Cup, and in doing so achieved what former franchise holders All Stars Team had never managed. It was, admittedly, far from a sure thing for the II.3 representatives, but a lack of flair inside the box took its toll on Grilled eventually.
frunzelax had just dismissed Sentoza Springboks 3-2 in the league playing away, and other than pacy forward Jessy Yoon, their other two scorers would feature today as well - Nicaraguan midfielder Juan Carlos Eric would again be their do-it-all around which the team revolved, while Jordanian Sam Najeeb Kilani would move out to the right wing. Firepower aside, this was a formidable lineup, all the more with Grilled also keeping some of their stars such as Gústav Thoroddsen and Brian Reddy on the bench.

French captain-coach Chadi Selawi would direct his team from the rear as usual, and he would not be shy in facing Grilled with his own 2-5-3. Midfield-wise, the Birds probably maintained a tiny edge with Mohd Marzuki Khairul and Lim An Keng both near the top of their game, and it would be a question of who would break the ice with something special. Federico Parada provided Aw Keng Chuan with a fleeting look from the left in the eighth minute, but it was all Aw could do, to even get a shot off.

It was minutes of dull, calculated passing interspersed with irregular bursts of action, and Danish veteran Brian Obuya came up with the spark 20 minutes in, as he weaved past Paulino Trindade and dragged a long, diagonal low pass across the entire penalty area, for Vadivel Shetty to thrash home. There wasn't much time to ruminate as Hwang Teck Fu blustered to his first cup goal straight afterwards, but frunzelax retook the lead as Number Eight James Gill fed on some lazy marking by Ha Qicai, to eke out space for his attempt.

That was 2-1 after 24 minutes, and the match was really waking itself up then. Gone would be the previous indecisiveness as Grilled Birds were drawn into the initiative, but frunzelax would prove pretty adept in defending as a unit too. There wasn't much going on to trouble Selawi as Phua Ming Xin found himself trawling unrewarded, and it was instead Damian Hutter who had to take one for the team in the 34th, by hacking Tanner Quach down right as he received the ball in an advanced position.

That free-kick went nowhere as Brian Obuya tried to be too clever with it, only for frunzelax to further extend their lead, right after half-time. No changes were made with Tian Yonghang looking as if he were considering some, but there was no time for second-guessing, what with Ha having to concede a corner with Kwek Kong Soon breathing down his neck. The short delivery was flicked on stylishly by Sam Najeeb Kilani, and Adrian Ceparu outmuscled Lim An Keng to drill it strongly past Dimitris Germanakos.

Grilled weren't out of hope yet, and with their attack coming online, there was no good reason for despair really. frunzelax's low block began to look distinctly vulnerable as they lost some of their previous stomach, and this played right into the Birds' hands. Damian Hutter got high enough to put in a good shot from twelve yards in the 54th, and while that went nowhere, a botched goalkick had several Birds players involved in the box, and left Phua Ming Xin to apply the finish for 3-2.

Phua, then, should really have done a lot better when confronted with what was perhaps Grilled's top chance of the day on the hour, as a lucky bounce saw him have half the goal begging. Sadly, he went high, and while Chadi Selawi had no chance, the shot plastered itself on the bar. Federico Parada then had his moment seven minutes later as he tried to pick out the top right corner, but Selawi got a hand to this.

The frunzelax head coach had seen about enough, it seemed, and he signalled for a double substitution in the 75th minute; Ceparu and Kilani were off, with Pili Keter and Emiliano Bastioni replacing them. The fresh legs definitely helped frunzelax hold off the worst of Grilled's forays, at least until Gústav Thoroddsen came in for Hwang, raising a rush of excitement. The Icelander might have only some five minutes to save the cup campaign, but from the eyes of the Birds fans present, they believed he could do it.

In truth, Grilled were not all that far away, and Lim An Keng might well have sent it to extra time, after Thoroddsen expertly drew attention away from him in the final minute of regular time. The midfielder tried to psyche Selawi out by stuttering his last few strides, but the goalkeeper was just too composed, and managed a vital save with his leg when it came.

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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
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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