Sydney FC have reached the semi-finals of the International Women’s Club Championship after defeating Japanese side NTV Beleza.
Sydney FC have reached the semi-finals of the International Women-s Club Championship after defeating the Japanese Nadeshiko League runners-up NTV Beleza 1-0 at the Kanko Stadium in Okayama.
Emma Kete-s 61st minute strike was the difference as the Sky Blues had the better of much of the game.
England-s FA Women-s Super League club Chelsea now stand between Alen Stajcic-s team and a place in next Sunday-s Final.
Stajcic named a strong starting line-up handing recent acquisition Anna Green her debut in the defence, and put a strong emphasis on attack with Taylor, Kete, Kerr, Khamis and Logarzo all named in the eleven.
After a quiet opening Sydney FC were the first to make a meaningful contribution on 15 minutes. Matilda Sam Kerr made a 30 metre run to the edge of the box where she unleashed a drive which just cleared the bar.
Sky Blues goalkeeper Casey Dumont needed to react quickly to keep the scores level just after the half hour. The former Brisbane stopper dived full length to her left to deny NTV Beleza after some inventive play inside the box and the sides went in 0-0 at the break.
The second half began well for Sydney FC with Ellyse Perry delivering a pinpoint cross to the head of Jodie Taylor but the effort was well saved by the NTV Beleza keeper.
Sydney-s goal came just after the hour mark. A long kick from keeper Dumont bounced and fell to Kete in the final third of the field and the striker picked up the ball and chipped the Japanese goalkeeper.
It was the goal which proved to be the difference for the Sky Blues who saw Caitlin Foord and Nicola Bolger come on from the bench in the final minutes and Dumont produce another great save to keep the opposition at bay.
Head Coach Alen Stajcic said: “I-m extremely pleased with the performance. To overcome the travel, playing away from home and playing a powerhouse club from a country which holds the World Cup, speaks volumes for the performance. I'm delighted for the team. The effort and discipline they put in to today-s game was outstanding.
“It really was a true team performance to use an old cliche. Anna Green was brilliant on debut, Chloe Logarzo worked tirelessly making her first start of the year and the save from Casey Dumont late in the game was truly world class.
“We take out a lot of confidence and knowledge that we deserve to be here, that Australian football can match it with the best around the world and that the Westfield W-League is a crucial part of the football landscape.
Sydney FC will take on Chelsea Ladies FC in the semi-final at Kanko Stadium in Okayama on Wednesday night (2030 AEDT). The winner will meet either South America-s 2012 Copa Libertadores Champions Colo Colo from Chile or the Champions of the Japanese Nadeshiko league INAC Kobe Leonessa in Sunday-s Final.