Westfield W-League Grand Final preview: Sydney FC v Melbourne City
A mouth-watering Westfield W-League Grand Final awaits on Sunday afternoon as a red-hot Sydney FC take on two-time defending Champions Melbourne City at Allianz Stadium.
Sydney FC come into the clash on the back of a 10-game undefeated run, ironically starting with a round 4 win over Melbourne City.
But Ante Juric’s side were forced to dig deep to reach the decider, with the Sky Blues requiring extra-time to defeat a brave Newcastle Jets 3-2 in last week’s Semi Final.
Caitlin Foord's unfortunate injury soured the win and the Matildas star will miss the Grand Final after undergoing surgery on her foot this week.
Melbourne City were somewhat more comfortable in booking their spot in the Grand Final, defeating Premiers Brisbane Roar 2-0 in stifling conditions at Perry Park.
After an inconsistent campaign saw them scrape into the finals in fourth, City are now just 90 minutes away from winning a remarkable third straight W-League title.
And with the likes of Jess Fishlock, Kyah Simon, Steph Catley, Alanna Kennedy and Lydia Williams in their side, you wouldn’t bet against Patrick Kisnorbo’s outfit doing the ‘three-peat’.
Sydney FC may have home-ground advantage but City certainly have the edge in big-game experience.
Either way, it’s going to be a fascinating encounter on Sunday.
FORM (LAST 5 MATCHES – INCLUDING FINALS)
Sydney FC: WWWWD
Melbourne City: WWDLW
PREVIOUS MEETING THIS SEASON
Sydney FC 3-2 Melbourne City (Round 4, Allianz Stadium)
Having lost their first three games of the season, the Sky Blues came into the Round 4 clash desperate to get their season up and running.
But in an end-to-end first half it was City that took the lead, via the head of former Sky Blues defender Alanna Kennedy.
Sydney FC managed to equalise in first-half stoppage time, with midfielder Kylie Ledbrook producing a classy lob to beat City keeper Melissa Hudson.
City regained the initiative eight minutes after the break when Larissa Crummer got on the end of Rhali Dobson’s cross to volley home.
But just after the hour mark Sydney FC skipper Teresa Polias drew her side level with a strike from outside the box, setting up a tense finish.
And as the match ticked into stoppage time, substitute Remy Siemsen was the hero.
The Young Matilda was in the right place at the right time to finish off Princess Ibini’s cross to snatch all three points for Sydney FC and begin their march towards the grand final.
KEY OPTA DATA
- Sydney FC picked up a 3-2 victory when these teams last met, their first ever win against Melbourne City; previously, the Victorian squad had picked up three wins and a draw against the Sky Blues, including a 6-0 rout in the first meeting.
- Melbourne City ran out to a 4-1 win in the only previous post-season match between these teams, the 2015/16 Grand Final.
- Sydney FC are undefeated in their last 10 games (W9, D1), their longest streak without loss since a 12-game glut in 2013/14.
- Melbourne City have won three of their last four games away from home, cleaning a clean sheet in each of those victories.
- The Sky Blues have scored the opening goal in every one of their last nine games; the last time they were beaten to the punch was against Melbourne City in November last year.
- Melbourne City have recorded 230 shots this season, more than any other team in the competition; however, they also have the lowest shooting accuracy (40%) of any squad.
- Aubrey Bledsoe boasts a save percentage of 81% this season, three percentage points greater than any other goalkeeper in the competition.
- Sydney’s Chloe Logarzo has scored in three of her four appearances so far in 2018 whilst City’s Aivi Luik comes into this match having scored in back-to-back outings.