National Premier Leagues (NPL) Queensland’s Brisbane Strikers are set to battle with Hyundai A-League heavyweights Melbourne City FC in an epic FFA Cup Semi Final this Tuesday at Perry Park.
As the first Queensland club ever to qualify for the FFA Cup Semi Finals, Brisbane Strikers would continue their history-making run if they triumph over Melbourne City and book their spot in the Grand Final.
But their run hasn’t been easy. Their Round of 32 match saw Strikers come up against Hyundai A-League side Wellington Phoenix.
In an epic clash that featured an entertaining 120 minutes of football and a penalty shootout, the Queensland side fought hard and managed to knock out the Hyundai A-League team in a ‘cupset’ victory.
The NPL Queensland side continued their raring cup form when they faced off against NPL New South Wales team Manly United in the Round of 16.
A Matthew Richardson header pulled Strikers across the line to progress to the Quarter Finals.
It was another tough match for the team as they faced NPL Victoria 2 team Moreland Zebras who were also on an historic cup run.
Strikers scored early in the first half with a Fraser Hills goal and extended their lead minutes before half time when Ryan Palmer slid the ball past Moreland keeper Fraser Chalmers.
The away team put up a fight though and managed to snag their first goal after Thomas Barforosh scored from a one-on-one with Strikers keeper Bon Scott. But before they could celebrate, Strikers hit back with another Palmer goal, just two minutes later.
Despite a Jakob Williams goal for the visitors in the 81st minute, Strikers held onto their lead to book their spot in the FFA Cup Semi Finals.
Strikers will be relying on key players like Andy Pengelly, Fraser Hills, Chris Maher and captain Jake McLean to help continue the club’s historic cup run.
Their upcoming opponents’ cup run has been just as successful, scoring eight goals and only conceding two in their three qualifying matches.
The 2016 FFA Cup winners first defeated Campbelltown City 3-1 in the Round of 32 before triumphing over Marconi Stallions with a 2-1 win in the Round of 16.
But in their most impressive feat, Melbourne City glided through their Quarter Final match against fellow Hyundai A-League side Western Sydney Wanderers in a 3-0 win.
Melbourne City will be hoping for big performances from players like Craig Noone and Jamie Maclaren who have scored all of City’s 2019 FFA Cup goals, with four goals each to their names.
A win for Strikers will continue the club’s odds-defying and momentous cup run, while a win for City will edge them closer to claiming another FFA Cup title following their 2016 success.
Brisbane Strikers will welcome Melbourne City to Perry Park in the FFA Cup Semi Final next Tuesday, 1 October at 7:30pm.
Words: Vivien Topalovic
Image: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images