Semi Final Recap: Victory the Brave progress to Prelim

Melbourne Victory recorded a famous win on Saturday evening, downing Melbourne City in a Derby Semi Final that will go down in history.

Those in attendance and watching on from home were spoilt with narratives, a 3-3 scoreline, end-to-end drama, a Melina Ayres hat-trick, Casey Dumont stealing the show with another incredible performance, and so much more.


This match had everything: six goals in regulation time, a tense extra time period, and a penalty shootout.

Victory Captain Kayla Morrison spoke in the build up to Saturday’s Semi Final about her side being a ‘Finals team’ – and they proved that, coming out of the sheds with purpose.

A chaotic start greeted both sides, and it was the away side Victory holding the ascendancy.

Alana Murphy stood up to take an early free-kick from 22-yards out, but it was put out for a corner by City shot stopper Melissa Barbieri prompting further Victory attacks, this time from two follow up corners.

Casey Dumont was called into action for the first time 14 minutes in, setting herself up for what would turn into another incredible performance.

Melbourne City broke the deadlock following a period of domination 40 minutes in. Victory’s Natalie Tathem was put under pressure, ultimately losing possession to City’s Holly McNamara, who found Rhianna Pollicina.

City held the lead at the break, heading into half-time leading 1-0.

Victory started the second half much the same to how they started the first – with purpose, intent, and aggression. It was all moving in Victory’s favour early on.

Tiff Eliadis had her headed effort denied by Barbieri’s crossbar before City’s Naomi Thomas-Chinnama brought Beattie Goad down shortly after.

Melina Ayres stepped up to take the subsequent penalty with confidence and drew the Victory level, putting the ball in the back of the net, and taking her season tally to ten.

With the wind in their sails, Victory quickly flipped the game on its head through Melina Ayres – who went on to net a hat-trick.

City clawed back, and brought the game to 3-2 79 minutes in again through Rhianna Pollicina.

It was Wellington on repeat for the Victory, with City’s Hannah Wilkinson nodding past Casey Dumont 96 minutes and 59 seconds into level the game once again at 3-3, and send the clash into extra time.

Victory were sent to ten when Amy Jackson was shown red 108 minutes in, setting up an anxious final period.

The full-time whistle blew after 120 minutes with both sides locked at 3-3, forcing the game to be decided by penalties.

After a standout season, Casey Dumont stepped up to take the first penalty, and executed with perfection to send Victory 1-0 up in the shootout.

After stepping up to score the first, Casey Dumont then saved City midfielder Katie Bowen’s penalty.

Melina Ayres scored, and so did City’s Pollicina – setting up a 2-1 scoreline in favour of Victory.

Markovski scored before City’s Hannah Wilkinson rattled her shot into the crossbar. It was all up to Victory to snatch the game.

On the back of a breakout season, 17-year-old Alana Murphy stepped up for the Victory and scored her penalty to send Victory through to an A-League Women’s Preliminary Final next week.


Melina Ayres’ leveller from the spot was massively important for the Victory. It inspired a new found confidence in the side, and sparked Ayres into action – going on to score a hat-trick soon after.


We caught up with Victory defender Jess Nash post-match.


Victory Head Coach Jeff Hopkins spoke to the press post-match.


Liberty A-League 2022/23 Semi Final
Melbourne City 3 [1] (Pollicina 40′, 79′, Wilkinson 97′)
Melbourne Victory 3 [4] (Ayres 53′ (P), 67′, 72′)


Victory await Sunday afternoon’s result from the second Semi Final between Sydney FC and Western United, played in Sydney, to determine who Melbourne will take on next.