Melbourne Victory’s Liberty A-League side will put it all on the line on Saturday afternoon as they face Sydney FC in the Preliminary Final for the chance to qualify for the 2023 Grand Final.
Victory qualified for the penultimate match of the season by defeating Melbourne City in a famous penalty shootout and now face the A-League Women’s Premiers in what is set to be another exciting chapter of Australia’s biggest Women’s football rivalry.
There’s no love lost between the sides. Victory and Sydney have battled in a range of epic fixtures over the years but none more famous than the past two Grand Finals where Jeff Hopkins’ side battled against the odds to earn back-to-back Championships.
Victory will be the underdogs once again this weekend as they head to Allianz Stadium looking to upset the Sky Blues in their own backyard but it’s a tag that Hopkins’ side have used as motivation over the past three seasons. Despite being the less fancied side, Victory is unbeaten in their last eight matches with their last loss coming on Australia Day against this week’s opponents.
Ante Juric’s squad comes into the repechage fixture after losing to Western United last week in the Major Semi Final. Hannah Keane’s lone goal separated the sides in a contest where the home side were on top for much of the contest but were unable to capitalise on their dominance.
Victory will look to contain the potent forward line that has scored the most goals in the league and boasts the likes of Cortnee Vine, Princess Ibini and Madison Haley who have all proven to be hard to stop this season. That will be made harder for Victory with the red card picked up by Amy Jackson in the Melbourne Derby last week but Hopkins is confident he’ll have a solution to keep them out.
Victory’s own forward threat Melina Ayres staked claim to her own piece of history last week, becoming the only player to score more than one hat-trick in the Liberty A-League Finals Series and she’ll be looking to continue her fine form against Sydney. Couple that with the heroics of Casey Dumont and the heart shown by the side throughout the whole season and Victory will be looking to become the Sydney’s nightmare once again on Saturday with a ticket to the big dance on the line for both sides.
Liberty A-League – Elimination Final
Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory
Saturday 15 April 2023
Kick-off: 3.00pm (AEST)
Allianz Stadium, Sydney