Grilled got off to a reassuring start in the East Europe - Asia Championship, beating Polish Division Seven side GTS Błękitni Mąkolno 5-0 in a mostly one-sided rout. Błękitni tried to invite the Birds onto them with a deep-lying 5-3-2, but would rapidly find that they didn't have the coordination required to pull this off.
This became apparent by the third minute, when Ang Leong Kum
moved into position for Mohammad Ramli Saliman
's cheeky little heel tap to roll across him, before clipping it across Turkish custodian Elbruz Nevair, and right into the opposite top corner of goal. Nevair was reportedly still recovering from an Achilles injury incurred during their last friendly, and it showed.
The match rolled on with the teams pulling in different directions, Grilled trying to force a narrow game, against a Błękitni team attempting to make full use out of their wingbacks. Although the Birds would tend to get the better of this argument, Błękitni's young Spanish fullback Carles Bujosa would threaten Yuta Nakakita
more than once with his creative footwork.
It wasn't enough to affect the main tenor, and Grilled's sustained pounding would result in a 37th minute score. There wasn't much to say about this one, born more of stubborn graft than anything, but Rinor Isufi
wasn't complaining as he struck it home, after several false alarms.
The Birds then had a penalty call go their way, Paul Bökenbarg being judged to have impeded Moey Xin Seng
's forward run from the edge of the penalty area. This was at best a debatable decision, but consultation with his linesman didn't change Keitaro Sinclair's mind, and Gene Filippone
stepped up to hit it right down the middle.
The Swiss defender was having one of his better days - much helped by being relieved of most of his defensive duties by the opponents' reluctance to attack - and he would become a frequent participant in Grilled's forays. Although not directly involved winning a free-kick in the 56th minute, he would wind up taking it with Rinor Isufi
stepping over, and delighted his teammates by burying it low.
A fifth arrived soon after as Neeraj Muthyala
just about outpaced Ottavio Caffaro in a race down the left, before centering it for Rinor Isufi
. Tian Yonghang
then came on after seventy minutes, right as Grilled won a clear penalty for a bad tackle on Clark Won
. There was some discussion before Tian yielded it to Filippone for his hat-trick, but he would miss badly this time.
Tian's contribution after that would be limited to a close try from the right side, after a layoff from Moey Xin Seng
; the latter would hand the armband back to his senior when he left five minutes early, for Chu Xin Lee
to stretch his legs, though it was quite obvious that would soon have to be passed the other way, permanently.