National Premier Leagues (NPL) Queensland’s Brisbane Strikers are set to face off against Moreland Zebras in an all-Member Federation FFA Cup Quarter Final clash that is guaranteed to make history this Wednesday night.
No NPL Queensland or NPL second tier side has ever reached the FFA Cup Semi Finals, so either side could write their name in the history books with a Quarter Final victory this weekend.
Brisbane Strikers became just the third Queensland team to qualify for the FFA Cup Quarter Finals since the competition’s inception after defeating National Premier Leagues (NPL) NSW side Manly United in the Round of 16 last month.
Among the other teams to qualify are five Hyundai A-League sides, two NPL top league sides, and NPL 2 Victoria side Moreland Zebras, who become the first ever Member Federation club from the second tier in their state to reach the Quarter Finals.
As the only remaining Queensland team left in the competition, Brisbane Strikers had to beat Hyundai A-League side Wellington Phoenix in the Round of 32, before defeating Manly United in the Round of 16 to secure their passage to the Quarter Final.
It was a second half Matt Richardson header that proved to be the match-winning goal in the Round of 16 for the Brisbane Strikers, who are into the last eight of Australia’s biggest knockout competition for the first time in the club’s history.
Strikers will be hoping for a big performance from key players such as Andy Pengelly, who has had a record-breaking season of his own, securing a league record by scoring 41 goals in the NPL Queensland this season.
The journey of Moreland Zebras has been just as impressive, with their run including victories over NPL Victoria 2 side Bulleen Lions in the Round of 32, before beating NPL Queensland side Magpies Crusaders 4-0 in the Round of 16.
Despite a shaky recent history in the Victorian Leagues, Moreland Zebras boast a rich history of club honours that includes being crowned Champions of the Australian NSL in 1985.
The club that has boasted previous players including Caltex Socceroos stars Mark Bresciano, Andrew Nabbout and Danny Tiatto will be hoping Head Coach and former Socceroo Fausto De Amicis can guide the club to a prestigious FFA Cup Semi Final appearance.
Moreland Zebras will be expecting key players Thomas Barforosh and goalkeeper Jack West-Astuti to step up for the Quarter Final clash. Barforosh will have his sights set on goal, while West-Astuti will have his work cut out trying to stop the dangerous Strikers attack at the other end.
A win would be a significant achievement for either club, with the winner moving on to claim one of four spots available in the Semi Finals of Australia’s biggest football competition.
Brisbane Strikers will welcome Moreland Zebras to Perry Park on Wednesday, 18 September 2019.
Brisbane Strikers v Moreland Zebras
Wednesday, 18 September, 7:30pm
Words: Darren Newell
Image: Albert Perez/Getty Images