W-League preview: Sydney v Victory

MelindaJ Barbieri

Melbourne Victory continues its bid to clinch a spot in the Westfield W-League Finals Series when it visits Sydney FC on Saturday.


Victory stretched its unbeaten run to six games with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Perth Glory at Dorrien Gardens on Tuesday.

It has a short turnaround as it makes the trip to Jubilee Stadium to take on Sydney, which is four points clear of third-placed Victory atop the table.

Annalie Longo scored her second goal in as many games to earn the three points for Victory in Perth.

The midfielder tucked away a cutback from Kyra Cooney-Cross, who produced a brilliant run down the left to set up the game-winner.

Cooney-Cross has created the most chances in the Westfield W-League this season with 25 in 10 games.

Victory goalkeeper Gaby Garton was in good form against the Glory, making six saves to keep her sixth clean sheet this season.

Catherine Zimmerman could make her return from an Achilles injury against Sydney after missing the past two games.

MelindaJ Barbieri is also in line for a milestone appearance, with the 20-year-old set to play her 50th Westfield W-League game.

Barbieri is set to become just the seventh player to reach 50 Westfield W-League appearances for Victory.

Head coach Jeff Hopkins’ pre-match thoughts

on short turnaround…
“We’ve done a recovery session this morning (Wednesday) in the pool. The good thing is that everyone has pulled up pretty well, no real injuries so it’s just a matter of making sure that we re-hydrate, we refuel, we come in tomorrow, just do a light session, get the journey out of our legs. We’ll have one session to look at Sydney, but even then we won’t be able to do too much, just make sure that we have recovered sufficiently enough to put in a real good shift on Saturday for the game.”

on Sydney…
“I think they’re a very consistent side, they play their game plan very well, they have players that have been at the club for quite a long time now so they understand how they play and they understand the game plan really well. They’ve got a real consistency about their play, they look to pass and move the ball from back to front on the ground, but also they’ve got threats in (Princess) Ibini, (Remy) Siemsen and Cortnee Vine to threaten you with a little bit of pace in behind, a good mixture of playing styles. They’re not at the top of the league for nothing so it’s going to be a tough game, but we’ve come to an end of a period of games now that ends with Sydney and we’ve been looking forward to this one. This will be a real test of kind of where we are and where we’ve come to and we’re really looking forward to testing ourselves on the weekend.”

on Barbieri…
“She’s still a very young girl. To have got 50 games under her belt already and to have spent a year out with an injury last year just shows what a talent she is. I think she made her debut around 15 years of age and she’s kind of gone from strength to strength now. It’s good to see her after her injury last year getting back to similar form that she was in before she got the injury. I’m really pleased for her, it’s nice for us to celebrate a career milestone with her and hopefully we can make it a real successful day all-round with three points as well.”

Last time

Westfield W-League 2019/20 Semi Final
Melbourne Victory 0-1 Sydney FC
Saturday, March 14, 2020
Epping Stadium, Melbourne

The teams last met a year ago in a Semi Final.

Veronica Latsko scored what proved to be the winner for Sydney in the 14th minute.

As it stands

Match details

Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory
Jubilee Stadium, Sydney
Saturday, March 20, 2021
Kick-off: 4.35pm AEDT