Canberra are aiming for a fourth Grand Final against Sydney FC this weekend.
So here we go again. For the seventh time in total, and third time at home, Canberra lines up in a Westfield W-League Semi-Final and with a fifty percent win rate to date, history hardly provides a statistical clue as to the possible outcome of the fixture. And that’s the way it should be in a one-off finals match. The outcome is in doubt until the final whistle even though Canberra will go into the match as favourites due to their impressively consistent form heading into the game.
Having beaten the Sky Blues twice during the regular season Canberra certainly knows what it takes in terms of a game-plan to come out on top however Sydney also possesses players who have that big match experience. With a potent goal threat from the likes of Kyah Simon, Jasmyne Spencer and Leena Khamis they will be no pushovers.
But what does the past possibly tell us about this clash of two of the Westfield W-League giants? Well, the Sky Blues have failed to score against Canberra in three matches and United hasn’t conceded a goal at McKellar Park in 620 minutes of football spanning six and a half matches. In fact the last visiting player to score at the ground was Hannah Beard for Western Sydney Wanderers in a 1-1 draw on 1st November 2014.
Indeed, Canberra is on a five-match winning streak against Sydney FC and has only lost once in the last eight meetings between the clubs. All this after not recording a single victory in the first four matches since the formation of the national competition in 2008, the best result being a 1-1 draw in the inaugural meeting at McKellar Park, a match memorable for a thunderbolt netted by
Munoz leads the Canberra goalscorers against their rivals having scored four times against Sydney FC. The experienced Matildas international is one of eleven players who have celebrated a goal against the Sky Blues with no fewer than six of those players taking part in the semi-final, namely: Munoz, Ellie Brush, Ashleigh Sykes, Michelle Heyman, Nicole Begg and Veronica Perez.
Canberra’s only injury as they head into the match is to central defender Emma Checker who has been ruled out for the season with a knee injury which recently required surgery. Lydia Williams and Heyman, who both missed the last match at McKellar Park against the Wanderers, will be back for this one as United, in front of what is likely to be a large and vociferous crowd, aim for a place in the big dance. With plenty of depth in the squad,
Canberra will be hopeful of seeing off the challenge of Sydney and progressing to a fourth Grand Final.
Canberra United v Sydney FC
Sunday 24th January 2016
McKellar Park, Belconnen
Canberra United Squad
1. Lydia WILLIAMS, 2. Catherine BROWN, 3. Julia DE ANGELIS, 4. Kendall FLETCHER, 5. Jenna MCCORMICK, 6. Caitlin MUNOZ, 7. Ellie BRUSH, 8. Meg MCLAUGHLIN, 9. Grace GILL, 10. Grace MAHER, 11. Michelle HEYMAN, 12. Emma KETE, 13. Nicole BEGG, 14. Ashleigh SYKES, 16. Tegan RIDING. 17. Veronica PEREZ, 18. Rebecca KITING, 19. Nickoletta FLANERRY, 20. Melissa MAIZELS, 22. Georgia BORIC