A shot at redemption
FC all set to avenge ‘18 grand final loss
SYDNEY FC will get the chance to erase last year’s W-League grand-final pain after firing past Brisbane Roar and into a blockbuster decider against Perth Glory.
Matildas star Caitlin Foord and US import Sofia Huerta were the difference in last night’s 2-1 semi-final win at Dolphin Stadium in Redcliffe, scoring either side of halftime to set Sydney up for a second consecutive home grand final in Sydney next weekend.
The coming week will no doubt evoke unpleasant memories of last season’s grand-final devastation, when they fell at the final hurdle to Melbourne City.
And this time they’ll be up against the might of a Glory side led by the irrepressible Sam Kerr, who netted a hat-trick and set up another goal in yesterday’s 4-2 come-from-behind semi win over premiers Melbourne Victory in extra time.
On paper Brisbane finished a point and a place above third-placed Sydney, but Ante Juric’s outfit had the Roar over a barrel in the regular season, winning both matches by a combined score of 8-2.
This wasn’t quite the 5-1 mauling of December but Brisbane, down to 10 men for the last 15 minutes after Natalie Tathem tripped up a through-on-goal Princess Ibini, lacked the cutting edge of their visiting counterparts despite the late sliver of hope provided by Yuki Nagasato’s stoppage-time consolation goal.
The Japanese World Cup winner’s terrific strike was too little too late, and Sydney had already made them pay for mistakes.
In the 33rd minute Danielle Colaprico opened up a napping Brisbane defence and found Foord in space for the star forward to pivot and place it perfectly in the top left corner for her 10th goal of the season and sixth against the Roar. The hosts hunted a quick equaliser and were filthy not to be awarded a penalty when Hayley Raso was brought down by Ally Green, the defender earning a yellow card a few minutes after Raso went into the book for a foul on Green.
That was nothing on the contest’s other clashes.
Two minutes in Allira Toby and Alanna Kennedy clashed heads sickeningly, the Roar forward coming off significantly worse, groggy and bloody and requiring a patch-up but playing on.
Colaprico got lucky not long before halftime when she rammed into English international Chioma Ubogagu and escaped unpunished.
Ibini ran amok, nearly slipping an early chance in at Mackenzie Arnold’s near post and whipping in a number of threatening crosses, including one late effort nearly turned into Brisbane’s net by one of their own defenders.
After the break Brisbane flew out of the blocks and Toby, sporting a bandage on her forehead, got in position but shot well high, while Raso caused chaos.
An elated Sofia Huerta of Sydney FC after scoring against Brisbane Roar, and (below) Sam Kerr celebrates a goal for Perth. Main picture: AAP