ALW Report: City 2-1 Canberra

Melbourne City has continued our strong start to the A-League Women’s season with a 2-1 win over Canberra United in Saturday’s home opener.

Rhianna Pollicina scored either side of half-time before the visitors pulled one back a little after the hour mark, although City were good enough to hold on to the three points.

Team News

Head Coach Dario Vidosic made just one change from last Sunday’s away win to Wellington.

Laura Hughes came into the XI for her first City start in place of Bryleeh Henry, with that change seeing Daniela Galic shift out wide and Leticia McKenna push further forward in midfield.

Starting XI: 44. Lysianne PROULX (GK), 8. Kaitlyn TORPEY, 13. Rebekah STOTT (C), 5. Taylor OTTO, 7. Julia GROSSO, 14. Laura HUGHES, 6. Leticia McKENNA, 10. Rhianna POLLICINA, 24. Daniela GALIC, 9. Holly McNAMARA, 17. Hannah WILKINSON.

Substitutes: 23. Melissa BARBIERI (GK), 3. Naomi CHINNAMA, 19. Tijan McKENNA, 20. Caitlin KARIC, 22. Bryleeh HENRY.

What happened?

City got off to a fast start, playing some football that was very easy on the eye in the opening exchanges.

Hughes settled in quickly on her starting club debut and was the general in midfield controlling the tempo of the contest.

Holly McNamara and Galic both got off to hot starts on their respective wings and were putting plenty of pressure on the Canberra fullbacks.

Some lovely link-up play from Rhianna Pollicina, McNamara and Hannah Wilkinson almost saw City open scoring after 20 minutes, but the Football Ferns striker saw her effort on goal go just wide of the target.

City fans wouldn’t have to wait much longer for the deadlock to be broken though, with the first goal of the game coming six minutes later.

Galic’s cross from the left took a deflection and looped up into the box, where Pollicina was waiting to meet it with a lethal volley to open scoring.

City would continue to dominate play for much of the first half, the centre back partnership of Rebekah Stott and Taylor Otto comfortably sniffing out any dangers posed by Canberra.

A pair of great chances came just before the break, Wilkinson first forcing a great reflex out of the goalkeeper, then Galic smashing the follow-up into the post.

The second would come almost immediately after the half time break when Holly McNamara drove into the box and won a penalty from kick off.

Up stepped Pollicina for the spot kick and she confidently slammed it home, sending the keeper the wrong way and finding the bottom left corner.

Canberra were able to find an answer against the run of play in the 63rd minute, with Michelle Heyman heading over an onrushing Lysianne Proulx.

Not content with the lead being pulled back to one, Pollicina was just centimetres away from completing her hattrick, slamming a close-range attempt into the crossbar a few minutes later.

Despite Canberra improving as the contest wore on, City had the quality and defensive resilience to see off the challenge and bank another three points.

What’s next?

Our City Women will have a week off due to the international break and will next face Western United at City Vista Reserve on Sunday 5 November.