Melbourne Victory secured a place in the Liberty A-League Finals Series after a 0-0 draw with Canberra United on Friday.
Neither team was able to find a breakthrough in hot and humid conditions at AAMI Park, where a point was enough for Victory to secure fourth spot.
Alex Chidiac and Margot Robinne went closest, both hitting the post, as the teams shared the spoils.
After making a solid start, Victory almost opened the scoring in the 14th minute.
Kyra Cooney-Cross played a lovely through ball to Catherine Zimmerman, who was denied by a good save at her feet by Chloe Lincoln.
Victory’s defence was holding up well, although goalkeeper Casey Dumont – playing her 50th Liberty A-League game for the Club – was forced into a straightforward save by Allira Toby in the 20th minute.
Dumont made a tougher save on the half-hour mark, stopping a Michelle Heyman strike in a one-on-one.
Chidiac almost struck eight minutes before half-time, the midfielder’s corner tipped onto the post by Lincoln as Victory continued to search for a goal.
Victory again went close just prior to the break, Cooney-Cross curling over from 20 yards after cutting in from the left following an Alana Murphy pass.
The host made a bright start to the second half as Murphy fired wide from distance before Lia Privitelli forced a save from Lincoln.
Dumont was needed to keep Victory level in the 51st minute with a low save from Heyman before Robinne hit the post from an angle.
The Victory goalkeeper was marking her milestone appearance in style, making a one-on-one save from Robinne with 18 minutes remaining.
Victory was boosted by the return of Melina Ayres, who came off the bench for her 50th Liberty A-League appearance for the Club.
A great chance went begging for Victory in the 82nd minute, Harriet Withers denied by the feet of Lincoln after a pass from Ayres.
Victory thought it had scored with five minutes remaining after Zimmerman tucked away a rebound from Cooney-Cross’ shot which hit the post, but it was ruled out for offside against Chidiac.
A teasing delivery from Withers then went untouched before Victory held on for the point it needed.
What they said – Cooney-Cross
on the result…
“It was good work, good effort from the girls at the end there. We struggled at the start for a bit, but good effort at the end.”
“We were all a bit worried, but she’s really tough and she played so well tonight. If she wasn’t doing her job, we’d probably be out.”
Player in focus
Dumont marked her 50th league appearance for Victory with a fine performance, making several excellent saves to keep a clean sheet.
Victory reached the finals for the fourth straight season, with either Adelaide United or City awaiting it.
Liberty A-League 2021/22 Round 14
Melbourne Victory 0
Canberra United 0
Melbourne Victory: Dumont (gk); Doran, Bunge, Hendrix, Nevin; Eliadis, Murphy (Withers 60′), Chidiac; Privitelli (c) (Ayres 74′), Zimmerman, Cooney-Cross.
Canberra United: Lincoln (gk); Vidmar, Haran, Keir, Ilijoski; Maher (Robinne 46′), Hughes; Toby (Caspers 70′), Washington, Grove (Middleton 46′); Heyman (c).
Yellow cards: Cooney-Cross 57′, Eliadis 90+2′
Red cards: Nil
Venue: AAMI Park
Victory will face either Adelaide United or City in the first week of the Finals Series.