Lions FC and Olympic FC will face off in a 2018 Grand Final re-match in the first of two National Premier Leagues (NPL) Queensland Semi Finals this weekend.
The recently-crowned Premiers will take on an Olympic FC outfit that finished the regular season in fourth.
Both NPL Queensland Semi Final matches this weekend will be available to watch live on FQ Facebook and FQ YouTube.
SEASON SO FAR
After a strong 2019 season, Lions FC successfully secured back-to-back Premierships and will now turn their focus to claiming the Premiership-Championship double for the second straight year.
Lions will bring an incredible run of form into the Finals Series; currently on an 11-match winning streak, the Premiers are undefeated in 20 matches and haven’t lost a match since their Round 9 loss to Gold Coast Knights in March.
In their last five matches, Lions have scored 23 goals and conceded just two. The side have also conceded the least number of goals in the top four following the conclusion of the regular season, with only 20 goals let in, and have scored the most goals in the top four.
Their exceptional season has seen Lions win 24 matches, and only record two losses and two draws to finish the 2019 season on top of the table.
Opponents Olympic FC meanwhile finished fourth at the end of the NPL Queensland regular season and have had a mixed bag of results in the final rounds.
The side have lost their three matches – against Gold Coast Knights, Brisbane Roar Youth and Brisbane Strikers – and have recorded only one win in their last five matches, a Round 27 victory against Brisbane City FC.
In their last five matches, Olympic have scored eight goals and conceded 13, and have the second-highest number of goals scored in the regular season by a top four team.
Their 2019 season has seen the side record 18 wins, seven losses and three draws, but has also been somewhat interrupted by a successful FFA Cup campaign in which Olympic made it to the Round of 16 before bowing out of the tournament.
Lions have dominated the two sides’ previous encounters, including their 2018 Grand Final match which saw the Premiers secure the Championship with a 2-1 win in extra time.
In their meetings this year, Lions have come away winners in both, recording a 3-2 win in Round 10 and a 2-0 victory in Round 25.
Despite their track record coming up against each other, in this do-or-die match with Grand Final glory on the line, anything could happen.
Marek Madle has been one of Lions’ best all season. Scoring 20 goals in 27 games, the dynamic forward has been a consistent force for his side and has earned himself a spot in the NPL Queensland Team of the Week on seven occasions.
Henry Hore meanwhile has been a revelation for Lions in the back-end of the season. The young midfielder has only played nine matches for the Premiers so far, but has already made a huge impact, scoring seven goals including a brace on two occasions.
Fellow midfielder Joe Duckworth has been impressive for Lions in 2019 since moving to the club from Western Pride last season. Duckworth has scored 10 goals in 22 matches for Lions this year to secure three appearances in the NPL Queensland Team of the Week.
Olympic FC forward Chris Lucas has had quite the year with Olympic FC. Lucas scored 26 goals in 25 NPL Queensland matches this year, finishing second in the Golden Boot tally for 2019. The striker also wrote his name in the history books during Olympic’s FFA Cup campaign, becoming the first player in FFA Cup history to score two hat-tricks (from the Round of 32 stage onwards).
Alex Smith has been another key player up front for Olympic this year. Smith scored 18 goals in the regular season and earned himself an incredible eight appearances in the NPL Queensland Team of the Week. Having recently announced his retirement at the conclusion of the 2019 season, Smith will no doubt give this match all he’s got, in what could be the last of his career.
Young gun Jez Lofthouse is a constant threat for Olympic, with opposition defence often finding it hard to contain him. The skillful winger will no doubt be a key player in Olympic’s Finals Series campaign.
Lions FC v Olympic FC
Saturday, 7 September, 6:30pm
AJ Kelly Park