Match Report: Sydney 3-0 City

rebekah stott sydney 3-0 city

Melbourne City suffered a tough 3-0 loss away to Sydney FC in the Liberty A-League on Saturday evening. Paige Satchell opened the scoring for the home side, before a Rachel Lowe brace secured the three points for the league leaders.

Starting XI

Rado Vidosic’s lineup for the top-of-the-table clash saw just one change from City’s Round 7 win over Adelaide United, with Winonah Heatley returning from the Matildas’ Asian Cup travelling squad to replace Naomi Chinnama in central defence. Young goalkeeper Sally James returned to the substitutes’ bench as she continued her recovery from an arm injury sustained pre-season.  

What happened?

Whilst City controlled the ball early, it was Sydney who would get the first significant chance – and it was a big one. The home side caught the City defence by surprise on the counter in the 7th minute and María José Rojas was able to stride through the middle of the pitch completely unmarked to be found inside the penalty area from the left. Incredibly, once the ball reached the Chilean’s feet, Melissa Barbieri was able to make herself big to pull off a crucial one-on-one save to keep the scores level inside the opening 10 minutes.

It was all Sydney from that point, with City’s early control of possession quickly ceded to their opposition, who dominated the ball for the remainder of the half.

City had the chance to net an opener against the run of play through Rebekah Stott, who pounced on a mishit back pass and attempted a first-time shot to capitalise on Sydney’s unorganised defence, but Jada Whyman did well to stop the ball as it travelled beneath her.

By the 33rd minute though, the home side’s dominance had paid off, with Sydney netting their first goal through Paige Satchell. The Kiwi had made a run behind the City defence and was found inside the area by Princess Ibini, with Satchell then able to lift the ball into the side netting past an oncoming Barbieri.

With City looking at a manageable 1-0 scoreline just minutes out from half-time, the Sky Blues struck again, this time through Rachel Lowe. The midfielder was picked out with a line-breaking ball from fullback Ally Green and was left with an abundance of time and space to find the bottom left corner and send her team into the break with a two-goal lead.

City made a bright start to the second period, with Hannah Wilkinson getting her first sight on goal with a palm-stinging effort to force a corner for her side. From the set-piece, Emma Checker had found the back of the net with her header but the goal was disallowed for a foul as the ball was in flight. Both Wilkinson and Torpey came close with their efforts in the ensuing minutes but couldn’t make the decisive contact.

The early dominance culminated in a big chance in the 58th for Wilkinson, who had been slipped into the box by Leah Davidson and fired an effort towards the right side of goal, but was denied only by a brilliant diving save by Whyman to her left.

Whilst the action fizzled out over the next 20 minutes, once it picked back up it was Sydney yet again. The Sky Blues netted their third of the contest in the 74th minute from a set-piece, with Lowe found unmarked over the top for her second of the evening.

Whilst Sally James’ Melbourne City debut provided a bright point in the final 15 minutes, there was little else to be positive about as the league leaders held out to secure all three points.

What’s next? The result still leaves City in second place, but a significant seven points behind Sydney with a game in-hand. The team will now look ahead to its next fixture away to Brisbane Roar next Sunday.