O ne of Canberra’s most highly anticipated and passionate showdowns in local sport took place on Saturday 5th of May at Riverside Stadium when Queanbeyan City hosted White Eagles in the historical ‘Balkan Derby’.

There is no doubt that rivalries raise the intensity of an encounter at any level of competition, but when it comes to this derby, it’s more than the players out on the pitch that gets fired up.

Queanbeyan City are of the Macedonian heritage and were found in 1966. While on the other hand, White Eagles are patriotically Serbian and were established years later in 1992.

Image Credit: Michael Djordjieski

Both teams take pride in their traditional ethnic origins and those historical links only add fuel to the fire when they come up against one another.

It is a fixture that the clubs cherish when coming up against each other, especially given the fact that Queanbeyan (2010) and Eagles (2011 & 2012) shared the last three league titles before the formulation of the Capital League in 2013.

While either club has not managed to clinch the Capital League title since it’s inception (a majority of that has to do with ANU FC’s dominance), in 2016 the pair played out two fascinating matches in a five-day stretch that will never be forgotten.

On the 8th of May, Eagles headed into proceedings having started the 2016 league campaign accumulating four wins from four, but if there was a team that wanted to end that 100% record, it was their Balkan rivals.

Though both the reserve grade and first grade matches finished in dull 1-1 and 0-0 draws respectively, its only right to provide a historical perspective on this rivalry.

In the end, Queanbeyan edged the game 4-2 in front of a massive Riverside crowd. Unfortunately, all broke out after full-time with beer bottles and fists being exchanged by opposing support bases.

With revenge firmly in sight, the two teams met up earlier in the year at the FFA Cup qualifying rounds. Just like at Riverside, a big turn out was on full display at Woden Park stadium.

This time Eagles came out on top in a resounding 5-0 victory that knocked City out of the cup.

While their ethnic scuffles will continue to light up the league four years on end, one eye must be firmly placed on knocking ANU off their throne who has won the last three titles in the Capital League.

The next derby will take place on the 14th of July.

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