After stunning minor premiers Brisbane Roar, Sydney FC are ready to take on Melbourne Victory in the Westfield W-League Grand Final.
Sydney FC booked their place in the 2013 Westfield W-League grand final by stunning minor premiers and favourites Brisbane Roar in their weekend semi. The 3-2 result was all the more sweet for Sydney in light of last season's dramatic semi final loss on penalties against the same opposition.
Despite dictating play for most of the game, the Sky Blues did endure a few nervous moments after Brisbane clawed back to within a goal and Emma Kete was sent off in the 77th minute, leaving Sydney to finish the game with 10 players. But 12 months has evidently blessed the squad with a new sense of composure as they held on in the final moments, much to the relief of captain Kyah Simon.
"We just needed to stay composed and not lose our head in the moment but just hang in there. If we did our defensive job we couldn't really see them getting back in the game," she said.
The result pits Sydney FC against southern rivals Melbourne Victory in a mouth-watering grand final showdown on Sunday.
The Sky Blues' recent form has been mixed with their last six games yielding three wins, a draw and two losses. However, they've responded well to pressure by surviving must-win games in the past two weeks.
On form, Sydney look to have greater momentum given that Melbourne's lucky semi final escape was preceded by a draw with the hapless Newcastle Jets. But the Sydneysiders are by no means expecting an easy ride against the Victory, whom they've not managed to beat this season.
"Melbourne got one up on us this year and we got a draw out of them as well so we know that they're difficult to play against and that's been proven throughout the season," says Simon.
"We know that they're a solid team all over the pitch and don't really have many weaknesses. I guess that makes it harder than to have a team with a few different key players and the rest have a few weaknesses here and there."
Sydney's strengths may be dimmed slightly with the suspension of Emma Kete, who combined so well with Simon and Sam Kerr in a three-pronged attack last week. Additionally, Ellyse Perry could be unavailable due to cricket commitments.
"I'm actually not quite sure how [coach Alen Stajcic] is going to cope with those changes," says Simon. "But I think we've got enough depth in the team for us to substitute those players and fill their shoes on the pitch."
Whoever gets the opportunity to run out, there's no question it will be a tough battle between two great sides from two great cities. Sydney FC takes on Melbourne Victory in the Westfield W-League semi final at AAMI Park on Sunday, January 27 at 3.30pm.