Melbourne Victory can secure a spot in the Westfield W-League Finals Series when it hosts Sydney FC in a top-of-the-table clash on Sunday.
Victory has won back-to-back matches and is on top of the table, but it has played just one full competitive game this month.
After wins over Perth Glory and City, Victory’s clash with Canberra United last week was abandoned due to dangerous weather.
Victory can secure a spot in the finals for the first time since the 2014 season with a win over Sydney.
It is the only team in the league to have played just nine matches and has three to go in the regular season, beginning with the meeting with the Sky Blues.
Victory was well on top before its encounter against Canberra was stopped due to lightning.
Emily Gielnik (two goals, one assist this season) and Christine Nairn (three goals, three assists) were both dangerous, while Laura Alleway hit the crossbar.
Victory star Natasha Dowie remains in the hunt for the Golden Boot, having netted eight times in nine games.
Heading into Round 13, Victory held a one-point lead over Sydney at the top of the table.
Head coach Jeff Hopkins’ pre-match thoughts
on the squad being eager to play…
“The way that we started the game (against Canberra), we looked like we were hungry to play. Games are great, that’s what they train for and sometimes when you take it away from them, it’s almost like you can then unleash them so hopefully that’s what we’ll do on Sunday against Sydney. I’ve been really happy with everything that’s been going on around training, it’s been excellent.”
on switching from Epping Stadium to Lakeside Stadium…
“Obviously the pitch at Epping for the last game was disappointing and most probably we looked at the ground and thought it may take a little bit of time to get it back to its normal immaculate state so we want to make sure we play on a top-quality surface so we’ve moved the game. It doesn’t faze us, we enjoy playing at both grounds, we’ve won there already this season against Newcastle with a good performance.”
on Sydney since the last meeting…
“They were a little bit inconsistent back then. They didn’t have a great start to the season. It was a great game, a real back and forth game. They’ve really got their game together since then, become more consistent as a team. If you look at their squad player for player, you’d most probably say they’ve got the strongest squad in the league. But again it’s a great challenge for us because our strength is our team and the way we come together as a team so we’re looking forward to putting ourselves up against a very good side and it’ll be a good challenge for us.”
Westfield W-League 2018/19 Round 4
Sydney FC 2-3 Melbourne Victory
Sunday, November 25, 2018
Jubilee Stadium, Sydney
Dowie stole the show when the teams met earlier in the campaign.
The Victory captain scored a hat-trick to see her team – reduced to 10 late when Angela Beard was sent off – to a win, with Chloe Logarzo and Alanna Kennedy on the scoresheet for Sydney.
As it stands
Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC
Lakeside Stadium, Melbourne
Sunday, January 27, 2019
Kick-off: 4.00pm AEDT