Round 21 of the National Premier Leagues (NPL) Queensland will feature a host of intriguing matches, as Brisbane City host Lions FC in the Brisbane Classico and Gold Coast Knights and Peninsula Power play out a top four clash, while another relegation battle looms for SWQ Thunder and Magpies Crusaders.
The long-time rivalry between Brisbane City and Lions FC goes back to the late 1960s and 1970s, where both sides regularly competed against each other in local league competition finals as Azzurri (City) and Hollandia (Lions).
From 1977, both clubs played in the National Soccer League (NSL) as foundation clubs, and Queensland’s only representatives in the NSL competition.
With each team playing out of Perry Park, a fierce rivalry ensued and the Brisbane Classico was born.
After years of playing in separate competitions, Lions in the Brisbane Premier League and City in the NPL Queensland, the rivalry was reignited as Lions entered the NPL Queensland competition just last year.
Ahead of this weekend’s Brisbane Classico match, Lions FC Head Coach Warren Moon said it was important that the current players acknowledge the strong history between both clubs.
“It’s a special game because of history and rivalry created by two clubs locally and in the national competition many years ago,” Moon said.
“I feel it’s massively important that this is not lost on our current group of players.”
This weekend’s clash will see two players come up against their former teams; Jean Carlos Solorzano (City) and Mitch Hore (Lions) have both played for their opposition previously.
Former City player Hore said there will be plenty to play for come this weekend’s game.
“I know to put it lightly we aren’t City’s greatest fans, and come Saturday both sides will be up for it,” Hore said.
“They’re a good team and always a hard opposition to play; last year we split one game each, and we will be very eager to go two from two this year.”
With their Round 6 clash resulting in a heavy 7-0 loss for City, the hosts will no doubt be even more driven to claim the three points in Saturday’s match against Lions.
Brisbane City v Lions FC
Saturday, 22 June, 6:30pm
Corporate Travel Management Stadium
Other key matches:
Gold Coast Knights v Peninsula Power
Gold Coast Knights and Peninsula Power will play out an FFA Cup rematch this weekend, with Knights prevailing last time the sides met to knock Power out of the cup competition in Round 6 just a few weeks ago. Knights have won their last three NPL Queensland matches, while Power have lost two of their last five games and will look to get their winning streak back up and running as they travel to take on fellow top four side Knights.
Western Pride v SWQ Thunder
SWQ Thunder will line up for their second relegation battle in two weeks following last round’s 2-2 draw with Magpies Crusaders. With only two points separating the sides as it stands, this weekend’s match will be vital in determining which sides remain in the bottom three come season’s end.
Magpies Crusaders v Redlands United
This weekend’s relegation battle with Redlands United will be a must-win for Magpies Crusaders, after they recorded a disappointing draw last week against SWQ Thunder. Redlands meanwhile will look to bounce back from last week’s 6-0 loss to Olympic FC. Last time the sides met was a close encounter, with Redlands recording a 4-3 win in their Round 6 clash.
Players to watch:
Daniel Weber (SWQ Thunder): Weber’s brace in his side’s 2-2 draw with Magpies Crusaders last round earned him a spot in the Round 20 Team of the Week, and Thunder will need more goals from him this weekend as they play out another important relegation battle.
Erik Panzer (Olympic FC): The centre back made an appearance in the Round 20 Team of the Week following a strong performance in his side’s 6-0 win over Redlands last week.
Oskar Dillon (Gold Coast Knights): The defender has featured in the last two Team of the Weeks, and can help his side to a vital win over Peninsula Power this weekend if he continues his recent form.