Brisbane Strikers valiantly bowed out of the FFA Cup last night in a 5-1 Semi Final loss to Hyundai A-League side Melbourne City at Perry Park.
Both teams put on a spectacular Semi Final match in front of an impressive crowd of 3,706 spectators.
A close first half was filled with multiple chances for both sides. But within the opening minutes, Brisbane Strikers drastically changed the pace of the match.
NPL Queensland Golden Boot winner Andy Pengelly opened the scoring in just the third minute of the first half with a spectacular strike to the bottom left corner, bringing the large crowd at Perry Park to their feet.
From then onwards, the home side surged forward with confidence, hoping to add to their early lead.
But the Hyundai A-League heavyweights were not to be taken lightly, holding possession for most of the first half with Craig Noone and Jamie Maclaren finding multiple chances up front.
It wasn’t long until the visitors’ hard work paid off in stunning fashion. In the 30th minute, Maclaren played a through ball to youngster Connor Metcalfe who snagged the equaliser with a low driven shot.
With scores locked at 1-1, both sides were keen to take the lead but after a long and tense 45 minutes, the teams would go into the break deadlocked.
As soon as the second half began, Melbourne City kicked into gear and pounced on the attack. Within minutes, they would gain their advantage through a Maclaren goal.
Strikers fought hard to find an equalizer, but it was clear fatigue was creeping in as they began to fall back into defensive tactics.
Melbourne City meanwhile continued to showcase why they’re one of the best teams in the country through their attacking maneuvers.
In the 62nd minute, the Hyundai A-League side extended their lead after substitution Marcelo Javier Cabrera Rivero found the back of the net from Florin Berenguer-Bohrer’s cross into the box.
Just ten minutes later, City continued their strong form by adding another goal to their lead. One of the best of the night on the pitch, Noone provided an assist for Maclaren to add to his outstanding goal haul in the FFA Cup.
With the score at 4-1 and just ten minutes left to play, Strikers continued to fight through moments of magic.
Substitution player Joshua Matcham had a few key chances for the NPL Queensland team but couldn’t convert them to goals before full time.
Minutes before the final whistle, Scott Galloway added another goal for the Hyundai A-League outfit with an outstanding strike.
Strikers keeper Bon Scott produced a number of fantastic saves in a half where City could have extended their lead by many more goals if not for the heroics of the ever-reliable shot stopper.
Despite a gallant performance from Strikers in their history-making FFA Cup Semi Final appearance, Melbourne City booked their spot in the Grand Final with a 5-1 victory.
Congratulations to Brisbane Strikers on their outstanding FFA Cup run.
Words: Vivien Topalovic
Image: Brisbane Strikers