Lions FC have secured their passage into the FFA Cup Round of 16 with a late goal in a thrilling 3-2 victory over Brisbane rivals Olympic FC.
Lions took an early lead, heading into the break with a 2-0 advantage before a second half comeback saw Olympic level with less than ten minutes to go, but an 87th minute goal to substitute Carter Glockner ensured Olympic’s celebrations were short-lived.
Over 1,200 spectators came out for the Round of 32 local derby, and they didn’t have to wait long for a goal with Lions finding the back of the net through the head of captain Matija Simic following a corner in the eighth minute.
After a strong run up the left wing, Lions doubled their lead with Mitchell Hore’s cross finding Jheison Macuace, who fired the ball past Olympic keeper Nicholas Mooney.
The home side had all the attacking flair in the opening half, with plenty of opportunities to extend their lead to three and put the game beyond reach for Olympic, but were unable to find the back of the net for the third time leading into the break.
Emotions were running high on the field and a melee ensued following a late challenge by Lions’ Danny Kim.
Olympic had a couple of good chances late in the half through Costa Psaros and Alex Smith but failed to score, in part thanks to the efforts of Lions keeper Luke Borean.
While it was all Lions in the first half, Olympic looked a different team following the break.
The visitors took control of the game in the opening minutes of the second half, creating multiple attacking opportunities but failing to convert them into goals.
Still, Olympic persisted and found themselves back in the game thanks to the blistering pace of Zelfy Nazary who pounced on a through ball and drilled the ball into the bottom right corner of the net in the 64th minute.
Both teams missed some golden opportunities in the next stages of the game as Olympic searched for an equalizer, which finally came in the 81st minute through substitute Jez Lofthouse who showed good pace around the box to power the ball past Borean.
The game seemed destined for extra time with only five minutes remaining, until a through ball from Lions’ Simic found Macuace in a great position to feed the ball across the box to Glockner, who fired the ball into the open net in front of him and sealed the victory for the home side in the 87th minute.
After the game, Lions coach Warren Moon said he experienced a rollercoaster of emotions after his team had such a strong start but let Olympic back into the game in the second half with his players tiring physically.
“We’re feeling really, really happy as a club, and I’m feeling more relief right now as a coach,” he said.
“When they scored that second it felt like there’d be only one winner because we seemed out on our feet physically, but good sides find a way and we certainly found a way to win the game tonight.”
Lions FC are now through to the FFA Cup Round of 16 for only the second time in their history.
In the remaining Queensland FFA Cup Round of 32 games, Cairns FC host Armadale FC on Wednesday 1 August, and Gold Coast Knights face Newcastle Jets while Brisbane Roar play Melbourne City on Tuesday 7 August.
Words: Elizabeth Lepre
Image: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images