Fans are set for a top-of-the-table blockbuster as Melbourne City FC and Sydney FC do battle at AAMI Park in the A-League Women this Sunday.
The high-stakes match could have Premiership ramifications; City has the chance to go ahead on a points-per-game basis with a win, whilst a Sydney victory would see them mathematically secure a second-consecutive league title.
Melbourne City is on a three-game winning run heading into the clash, most recently putting on a dominant performance against Perth Glory away from home.
Things were tight early on, but a timely Rhianna Pollicina strike late in the first half set City up well for a stronger second half. The visitors capitalised on tiring Glory legs as the home side played its third game in nine days, and City would prove too strong in the end, with Holly McNamara netting twice before Hannah Wilkinson put the icing on the cake in stoppage time.
Such a strong win against a Finals hopeful was the perfect statement from Rado Vidosic’s side, particularly ahead of its do-or-die clash against Sydney FC.
The Sky Blues were recently held to a 2-2 draw away to Melbourne Victory in an enthralling rematch of last season’s Grand Final; the visitors were two goals ahead before a late Victory comeback including a Catherine Zimmerman stoppage-time equaliser saw the points shared.
However, Ante Juric’s side has had to move on quickly from that bruising clash just four days ago as his team prepares to come up against City for the second time this season.
Whilst the scoreline may have read 3-0 in the Sky Blues’ favour on that occasion, it was a much closer game than the result suggested, with Jada Whyman pulling off some incredible saves to maintain the clean sheet. Her team then capitalised on City’s vulnerable defensive structure on the counter, with clinical finishing ultimately proving the difference on the day.
The rematch between the league’s top two sides will likely have a different feel about it given the returns of each team’s Matildas representatives, with Holly McNamara, Remy Siemsen and Cortnee Vine all missing that January meeting between City and Sydney.
Whilst it was Sydney who had the the greater number of national team representatives missing for that clash, it’s City who will be without Rebekah Stott and Hannah Wilkinson during New Zealand’s SheBelieves Cup campaign, with Sydney missing only Paige Satchell.
Melbourne City FC vs Sydney FC
Sunday 20 February, kick-off 4:05pm