Melbourne Victory is eyeing a place in the Westfield W-League Grand Final when it faces Brisbane Roar on Easter Sunday.
Victory will take on the Roar at Lions FC Stadium after finishing third on the table.
It heads into the encounter on the back of a 2-1 loss to Sydney FC on Wednesday, a result which ended its seven-game unbeaten run.
While Victory fell short in its bid to win the Premier’s Plate, Kyra Cooney-Cross scored a wonderful late goal against the Sky Blues.
Cooney-Cross joined Melina Ayres and Catherine Zimmerman on five goals for Victory this season.
Victory is bidding to reach the Westfield W-League Grand Final for the first time since 2013/14.
It is playing in the Semi Finals for the third straight season after a campaign in which it won seven of 12 regular-season games.
Sydney or Canberra United awaits Victory if it can book a spot in its third Grand Final.
Head coach Jeff Hopkins’ pre-match thoughts
“We’re going to have to be careful with them tomorrow (Friday). The main thing was we didn’t get any new injuries, there were no injuries at all coming out of the game and I was really pleased with the way that we pulled up from the last game and on such a short break we had a lot of energy in the game so we just need to be careful with our recovery there. We’re in tomorrow, we’ll do a very, very light session on the field tomorrow and then get the girls home again. That’s a really important part of what we’re doing and then we’re going to have a mixed session on Saturday. Still, won’t be able to do too much, but we’ll do a little bit of tactical work on maybe one or two key things that we need to do well against Roar and then we’ll head up to the Gold Coast on Saturday afternoon.”
on Sydney performance…
“I was happy with a lot of things actually. I thought we competed really well, it was quite a physical game, it was played at a very quick pace or we thought it was anyway, we haven’t seen the data yet from the game, but from what it looked like from the side, and from the feedback I’ve got from the players, they felt it was played at a fair pace so I was really pleased with the way that we played at that pace on a difficult surface. For most of the game we kept possession of the ball quite well, built up well against a team that made things very hard for us in the middle third of the field. I thought we handled that okay, most probably the area we needed to be better was we needed to be a little bit more clinical around the edge of their box, maybe a few more ideas of ways to break them down in and around the box, but in general I was pretty proud of the way that we handled ourselves. Bit disappointed with the way we conceded the goals, more so from the decisions than the way anything we did, I thought that was the disappointing thing, but in general I was pretty happy with the way the players were and if we can repeat the performance but most probably add a little bit of quality on our final ball in and around the box, I don’t think we’ll be too far away.”
on experience of playing against Sydney for the Premier’s Plate…
“It was like another final so I think it was excellent and that’s what one or two of the players I’ve spoken to, they felt the game was played at another level in terms of the intensity so we’ve had that experience, again it was a one off game for us, we had to go there and win and it kind of replicates what it’s going to be like in a final this weekend so it was a good rehearsal for us. The two games we’ve had against Roar this year have been two completely different games, the 0-0 and the 6-0, and we want to just put the record straight. We know there were a lot of things in the second game that we didn’t do anywhere near as well as we could’ve done. It’s something we’ve been looking forward to and waiting for for a while just to put the record straight there so we’re looking forward to going up to the Gold Coast and playing the game.”
Westfield W-League 2020/21 Round 5
Brisbane Roar 6-0 Melbourne Victory
Friday, January 22, 2021
Gold Coast Sports Centre, Carrara
Brisbane handed Victory a heavy loss when the teams met in January.
Mariel Hecher and Tameka Yallop scored in the first half before goals from Sharn Freier and Winonah Heatley either side of an Emily Gielnik brace.
How it finished
Brisbane Roar v Melbourne Victory
Lions FC Stadium, Richlands
Sunday, April 4, 2021
Kick-off: 4.00pm AEST