Melbourne City will be looking for back-to-back wins when it takes on Adelaide United at AAMI Park this Sunday.
The Women’s clash will be the second leg of a double header for City fans, with the match to follow on from the Men’s match that will take place at 3:00pm.
City recorded a gritty 1-0 win over the Western Sydney Wanderers last Saturday thanks to an early Hannah Wilkinson goal and will now turn its attention to its second match-up against Adelaide inside the space of a month.
The squad is edging closer towards full strength with the likes of Karly Roestbakken, Emma Checker and Hannah Wilkinson now getting a handful of games under their belt after returning from injury.
Here’s a few things to watch for this Sunday!
Barbieri’s century within reach
Sally James has been sidelined for the past two weeks with a finger injury, veteran goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri replacing her in between the sticks.
Fresh off a clean sheet against the Western Sydney Wanderers, Barbieri will be hoping to replicate that kind of performance in what would be her 100th A-League Women’s game this Sunday.
There is no guarantee that Barbieri will be in goal though, with James being cleared for a return to action and being named in Sunday’s
A much-loved figure within the group, Barbieri has been instrumental within the club for many years now, acting as a true professional both on and off the pitch.
While still incredibly reliable at the back for City, her willingness to pass on her knowledge and expertise to the next generation of players is what makes her such a crucial cog in the City machine.
Achieving 100 games is certainly no easy feat and it’s a true reflection of just how good ‘Bubs’ has been.
Hannah Wilkinson back to her best
A prolific scorer for City in last season, Kiwi striker Hannah Wilkinson has begun to remind opposition defensive lines just how dangerous she can be, netting goals in her past two games.
After easing her way back from injury in her opening few appearances this season, it appears that City are slowly beginning to get used to having the her back up front once again.
Wilkinson opened her account with a powerful strike from the edge of the box in City’s 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory and then backed it up with another goal against the Wanderers, putting herself in the right area to bundle a loose ball into the back of the net.
With the likes of Grosso and Torpey constantly threating in the wide areas, Wilkinson’s presence up front and clinical finishing ability has a big impact on the way City converts the lofty amount of possession and chances they create each match.
City keen to keep in touch with top of table
After navigating injuries, short turnarounds and a new Head Coach, City has done extremely well to find itself sitting in 2nd place on the table coming into this Sunday’s fixture.
City currently sits on 22 points (10 games played) trailing the first placed Western United who are on 24 points (9 played) while Sydney FC find themselves in 3rd on 18 points but do have two games in hand.
With a big game against Sydney FC also on the horizon, City will be eager to secure the full three points at home against Adelaide to ensure it keeps some distance between themselves and the Sydney-based outfit.
What happened last time?
City fans don’t have to cast their minds back very far to these two sides last meeting, with City last playing Adelaide United just a few weeks ago.
As City continues to chase Western United at the top of the A-League Women table, it has the chance to make it two wins inside the space of a month after recording a 3-0 win in Adelaide on January 11.
While City ran out winners on the day, Adelaide certainly proved to be a big challenge, particularly early.
After a tight first half where neither side was able to find the back of the net, a goal from Daniela Galic gave City a lead that they maintained throughout the entire second half. It was then Leticia McKenna and Caitlin Karic who both scored inside the space of five minutes in the dying stages to ensure the three points were safe.
How have both teams been travelling recently?
City will be coming into the match with a boost of confidence after it showed plenty of determination and composure to see out a 1-0 win over the Wanderers last Saturday.
That win following a run of three games in a week which saw a mixed bag of results, City winning, losing and drawing in that period.
Meanwhile, Adelaide is coming off a 2-1 loss to Melbourne Victory after second half goals from Alex Chidiac and Kayla Ann Morrison proved the difference.
Sitting fifth on the table and winless in their last five, United will be desperate to secure all three points come Sunday.
Liberty A-League: Round 12
Melbourne City FC v Adelaide United
Sunday 29 January, 5:045pm