W-League Preview: Melbourne Victory v Canberra United

This weekend’s ABC TV match shapes as a classic with Melbourne Victory able to put one foot into the finals with a win here.

Melbourne Victory v Canberra United Sunday 12 January 2014 Lakeside Stadium, Melbourne Local kick-off: 3pm

This weekend-s ABC TV match shapes as a classic with Melbourne Victory able to put one foot into the finals with a win here, and at the same time create a significant gap over their opponents. Canberra-s star-studded roster know they have little margin for error after last weekend-s shock loss to Adelaide who are closing fast on the leading pack. Historically matches between the two clubs have been tight with Canberra narrowly in front with five wins to Melbourne-s four.

Melbourne Victory are playing with rare confidence on the back of a six-match unbeaten streak to be sitting pretty at the top of the ladder. The Victorians are on target for a highest-ever finish with third-place last term their best achievement to date. Championships, they say, are won on tight defences and the Victory have conceded just twice since that opening-day 5-1 rout at the hands of Sydney FC. Caitlin Friend-s six goals puts her top of the league-s goalscoring chart, while the enigmatic Lisa De Vanna seems due a goal and of course remains a threat to any team on her day.

Consistency and Canberra United have gone hand in hand in recent years, making last weekend-s 2-0 loss in Adelaide all the more stunning. With talent all over the pitch it would be a major surprise to see Canberra recording two losses in succession but they face a massive challenge on Sunday to avoid that unwanted statistic. Like Melbourne, Canberra have largely enjoyed an injury-free campaign and the team from the nation-s capital also boast two of the competition-s most prolific goalgetters; Michelle Heyman and Stephanie Ochs. Unusually Canberra were kept scoreless last weekend, but it would be a major shock if history repeated on that front despite the Victory-s remarkable defensive record.

** Catch all the action Live* at 3.00pm on ABC1. Or catch up from Monday on ABC iView with a full replay at 3.30am on Thursday (*live in AEDT states)

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Melbourne Victory squad: 1. Brianna Davey (gk) 3. Jessica Humble 4. Katie Hoyle 5. Laura Spiranovic 6. Cindy Lay 7. Stephanie Catley (c) 9. Caitlin Friend 10. Jess Fishlock 11. Lisa De Vanna 12. Jessica Samuelsson 14. Enza Barilla 15. Emma Checker 16. Beattie Goad, 17. Gulcan Koca, 18. Emily Hulbert, 20. Cassie Dimovski (gk) (one to omitted)

Ins: Emily Hulbert (promoted)

Outs: None

Unavailable: Ashley Brown (knee - season), Tiffany Eliadis (overseas - one week), Alex Natoli (hamstring 2-3 weeks)

Canberra United squad: Lydia WILLIAMS (gk), Catherine BROWN, Georgia YEOMAN-DALE, Kendall FLETCHER, Ellie BRUSH (c), Meg McLAUGHLIN, Grace GILL, Michelle HEYMAN, Sally ROJAHN, Caitlin MUNOZ, Nicole SYKES, Ashleigh SYKES, Lori LINDSEY, Jennifer BISSET, Trudy BURKE (gk), Stephanie OCHS (one to be omitted)

Ins: Georgia Yeoman-Dale (promoted)

Outs: None

Unavailable: Sally Shipard (knee - indefinite)