Liberty A-League Grand Final preview: Sydney v Victory

Match details

Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory
Jubilee Stadium, Sydney
Sunday, March 27, 2022
Kick-off: 4.05pm AEDT
Broadcast: Paramount+, 10 Bold


Melbourne Victory is aiming to win back-to-back Liberty A-League Championships when it faces Sydney FC in a repeat of last season’s Grand Final on Sunday.

Victory produced one of its best performances of the season on Sunday, beating City 3-1 in a Derby Preliminary Final at AAMI Park.

That result saw Jeff Hopkins’ side move into a decider for the second straight year, and it will again make the trip to Jubilee Stadium to face the Sky Blues.

Victory was electric in the Derby and had enough chances to end the contest sooner than it did.

Melina Ayres opened the scoring on the half-hour mark before Claudia Bunge poked in a Courtney Nevin corner to make it 2-0.

Victory captain Lia Privitelli effectively sealed the win early in the second half, although there was a slightly nervous finish.

Ayres’ return has given Victory a major boost, with the forward – and Privitelli – now on the scoresheet in back-to-back matches.

Victory is aiming to win a third Liberty A-League Championship and go back-to-back for the first time in its history.

Last season, Kyra Cooney-Cross curled in directly from a corner in the final minute of extra-time to give Victory a famous win over Sydney.

Player in focus

After missing almost all of the regular season, Ayres has sparked Victory on her return. The forward has scored two goals and provided an assist in the past two games – her only starts of the campaign.

What they said – Hopkins

on the week…
“It’s been pretty good actually. We’ve enjoyed the week so far. The players came in pretty tired, had Monday off, took a small group of the players that didn’t get much time, we got them in straight away early Monday morning, had a good session with those girls and then the main group came in on Tuesday, they were pretty fatigued so we did a very, very light kind of restart, just get their legs going again, massage as usual, pretty much the same really and then yesterday (Wednesday) we had a slightly lighter day, but we still got a fair bit of work into them. They were in the gym, we had breakfast together which was good fun and day off today. We did a little bit of work on how we’re going to play on the weekend, a little bit of a look at Sydney as well, but the main session will be tomorrow and we’ll really start to focus in on the game after that.”

on form…
“The performances in the last two games are very pleasing. There were a few questions being asked about our form leading into those games, but I think we understand we knew where we were and we were confident that our bodies would be right and once our bodies were right then performances would get back to how they were early on in the season and I think that’s been quite true. I think the good thing about that tough period we had is we’ve come out of it pretty strong. We’ve got through it, we’ve known through that period that we really had to roll our sleeves up and work hard and then the Canberra game, which was basically a final, the performance against Adelaide and then last week against City, we’re in a really good place at the moment ourselves and I’m sure that the players feel ready and confident to play the game.”

on whether last season’s Grand Final matters…
“It does and it doesn’t. For kind of that belief that we can go there and we can win, we can go away and win. We went away to Adelaide, I think that’s more relevant to us this year, is that we went to a team a couple of weeks before had beaten us 3-0 and beaten us quite well actually, we were able to turn things around, put in a performance and a thoroughly deserved performance to win the game. I think that’s more relevant to us this year, but I look at them and they’ll most probably be trying to get something out of that game and look at it as a bit of revenge for them, a bit of redemption for them so we kind of understand that. It’s more about what we’ve done over the last couple of games for us that’s given us the confidence to go up there and think that we’re a really good chance of winning the game.”

on Sydney and previous meeting…
“There’s two things really. One it was in the middle of a really hard spell for us. They definitely did really well against us in the first half, they gave us a bit of an idea of what they might be like this weekend and they’re a good side. I said it before, I’ve got a lot of respect for Ante (Juric) and the way he puts his teams together. They’re very well organised, they work hard and they play a really good brand of football, attacking football and he’s got good players right the way through that team and in that first half they were great against us, but I guess what we take out of it is you know even at that time when we were tired and fatigued, we were able to draw on something and to come back into that game and that’s kind of what excites me. It’s almost like whatever you’re going to throw at us, we’ll take it and then we’ll come back at you. That’s kind of what we’re all about I think and I think now the good thing for us is we’re going into this nice and fresh, we’re going into this nice and confident and it’s against a very, very good side, but in terms of us we’re in a good place.”

Last time

Liberty A-League 2021/22 Round 9
Melbourne Victory 2-2 Sydney FC
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
City Vista Pavilion and Sports Field, Fraser Rise

Victory’s busy run of fixtures appeared to be having an impact as Sydney took a two-goal lead through Princess Ibini and Remy Siemsen.

But the host rallied as Privitelli pulled a goal back before Catherine Zimmerman volleyed in a stoppage-time equaliser.

Head to head

Round 9, 2021/22: Victory 2-2 Sydney at City Vista Pavilion and Sports Field
Grand Final, 2020/21: Sydney 0-1 Victory (aet) at Jubilee Stadium
Round 13, 2020/21: Sydney 2-1 Victory at Cromer Park
Semi Final, 2019/20: Victory 0-1 Sydney at Epping Stadium
Round 14, 2019/20: Victory 3-1 Sydney at Marvel Stadium