FFA Cup Preview – 9 / 10 June

One team through to the final 32 over the weekend after FNQ Heat’s win over Frenchville on Sunday night. This week we’ll find out the two Brisbane teams that will join them while Sunshine Coast qualifying gets back on track.

Just five matches remain to determine Queensland’s qualifiers into the main draw of the FFA Cup and three of those take place this week. Here’s our look ahead.

Redlands v Brisbane Strikers – Tuesday 7:15pm, Cleveland Showgrounds

The rivalry continues between these two clubs who met just eleven days prior to this match in the league. Earlier in the year, Strikers looked to have clinched their round one clash but an equaliser in injury time from Redlands saw the match end in a 2-2 draw.

After a slow start to the season, Redlands have been resurgent in recent weeks, undefeated in six on the trot across the league and the cup. The 2-1 league win against the Strikers at the same venue was backed up with a convincing second half performance against Brisbane Premier League side, Ipswich Knights last Thursday night where Redlands came away 6-0 victors.

Strikers come into this match fresh, their last match was that one against Redlands. Their previous Cup match was a 2-1 win against league leaders Moreton Bay with former Redlands defender, Cameron Draper, scoring both goals for his side on the night. The former NSL club will be attempting another return to the national stage after qualifying for the final 32 last year.

Noosa Lions v Sunshine Coast Fire – Tuesday 7:30pm, Girrawheen Sporting Complex, Noosa

Sunshine Coast Fire finally make their entrance into the Cup while Noosa have been presented with a second chance after Kawana were removed from the competition after fielding an ineligible player in their round four match.

Noosa currently sit third in the Sunshine Coast Premier League with just two losses from their eleven league matches but are eight points off league leaders Kawana. The Lions come off a 3-1 win over Coolum on Saturday night and boast former Fire players Alex Barlow, James Verdin and Sam Nickolls amongst their squad.

The Fire have hit a rut of poor form recently, losing their previous three league matches, most recently to Brisbane City 3-1 nine days ago but despite that, firmly remain in the finals hunt sitting in fifth position.

The NPL club will be aiming for their inaugural Cup victory after tasting defeat at this stage last year in a penalty shoot-out to Caloundra. Several players from that victorious Caloundra squad front up for the Fire while Tim Hollingworth plays his old club.

The winner of this match will play Hervey Bay’s United Warriors in round six. The victor of that match meets Palm Beach for a place in the final 32.

Lions v Pine Rivers – Wednesday 7:30pm, Lions Stadium

Top of the table Brisbane Premier League, Lions host Capital One second placed Pine Rivers in this match that will decide the second Brisbane club to go into the draw for the final 32.

Lions remain undefeated in the Premier League and squad management was the order of the day in Sunday’s 1-1 come from behind draw against Logan Lightning, highlighting the priority of this match.

The former NSL club fell short at the final hurdle last year, eliminated by a fellow NSL club, Brisbane Strikers 3-2. While the league Premiership is obviously a focus, getting to the final 32 has also been a target due to the club’s history. A comfortable 3-0 win against Peninsula was the return from their Cup match played last Wednesday.

Pine Rivers will be the underdogs in this match and could hold a surprise element for their opponent, Lions coach Warren Moon admitting in a recent media interview that he knew little of the Strathpine-based club’s way of play.

There will be one thing in the Predators’ favour, they will be well rested after having not played since their 29 May 2-1 league win against Annerley. Their last step in their Cup journey saw them defeat fellow Capital 1 club and near-neighbours, North Pine 3-0.

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