Leena’s Sky Blues buoyed by AAMI return

Melbourne City may have home advantage for Sunday’s Westfield W-League Grand Final, but Sydney FC have their own special reason to look forward to playing at AAMI Park.

The last time Sydney FC took to the AAMI Park pitch in a finals match three years ago, they came away with an epic 3-1 Grand Final win over Melbourne Victory. It was, in many ways, the most memorable of Sydney’s three Grand Final appearances.

Amid a buoyant and colourful atmosphere that day, Sydney FC defied local expectations to secure an impressive victory with some eye-catching goals, and a memorable celebration from a cart-wheeling Sam Kerr.

Sydney FC head into the season decider with good momentum after winning three of their past matches, including that tough 1-0 win at Canberra United last weekend. Little wonder the vibe is good amid the Sky Blues’ ranks this week.

“We are all very excited about the Grand Final this weekend, and the mood is great,” said experienced midfielder Khamis.

“We had a shaky start, but week by week we have become better. We are in confident mood with the team’s form lately.”

Sydney FC started the season with a barely believable 6-0 home loss against City, but the return bout in Melbourne a fortnight ago was a very different affair. The Sky Blues suffered a 2-1 loss, but it took a late deflected goal to decide the game.

“We knew that match didn’t count for anything, but in the back of our mind was that 6-0 loss,” says Khamis. “There was pride to play for, and obviously trying to knock off the top team is always a goal. We also knew it was preparation for the semi-final and we are looking forward to having another crack at them this weekend.

“We copped a little bit of criticism (early in the season), so I’m so happy we made the Grand Final. Now I can’t wait to get out there and play, and try and knock the top team off.”

Khamis has been a permanent figure in the Sky Blues side since season one, collecting two championships and featuring in their maiden Grand Final seven years ago.

“My preparation won’t be any different, but mentally I’m a lot stronger than seven years ago. The nerves never go away but I can control it a bit better now that I’m experienced.

“It (playing at AAMI Park) is a confidence booster in itself. Of course it is a different season, group of players and opponents. We like playing at AAMI is a great feel to it. And we know the Melbourne team gets behind their team in a big way so we are looking forward to that too.”

Westfield W-League 2016 Grand Final
Melbourne City v Sydney FC
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Sunday 31 January 2016
Kick-off: 2pm

LIVE on Fox Sports and ABC TV

Tickets from Ticketek