Preview: The Semi-Final Decider

Sydney FC’s Liberty A-League squad will be looking to make history on Saturday afternoon when they host the Central Coast Mariners for the second and final leg of the Semi Finals at Leichhardt Oval.

The match-up will decide which team will feature in the 2023/2024 Grand Final. For the Sky Blues, this would be their seventh consecutive Grand Final appearance, and a win would mark back-to-back championships.

As the current title holders, the Sky Blues will be setting their sights on a fifth Grand Final victory, breaking the record shared with Melbourne City who have won titles in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020. Ante Juric’s squad just fell short of the Premiership, falling by two points to Melbourne City, but a Grand Final win could set them up for another strong campaign in 2024/2025.

The Mariners are yet to participate in a Grand Final. In their second ever season, the Central Coast representatives notched the title of W-League runner up in 2009/2010. Despite going down 1-0 last weekend, the Mariners have defeated Sydney FC before in previous meetings this season winning 2-1 at Leichhardt Oval in January thanks to a late penalty. In the case the Mariners were to win by a single goal on Saturday the match will go to extra time and penalties until the sides are separated.

Rola Badawiya of the Mariners competes for the ball with Margaux Chauvet of Sydney FC.

Ones To Watch: Margaux Chauvet and Rola Badawiya

This weekend’s showdown will feature a high energy contest between the Sky Blue’s defensive line the Mariners high press forwards. Margaux Chauvet and Rola Badawiya have each been part of their teams recent success and it will be an interesting pairing for spectators to observe.

The Sky Blue utility defender and midfielder who just announced a two-year contract extension has been clinical for her side, especially in the last two matches which earned her two ‘Player of the Match’ nominations. The 21 year-old is known for her versatility on the pitch and tenacious defence. The Ivory Coast born player has 21 clearances, 5 blocks and 27 intercepts for this season alone. Chauvet also has a 66.7% success rate for tackles and 63.2% success rate for aerial duels.

Former Sydney FC team member, Rola Badawiya will be coming head-to-head again with her old squad. As one of the Mariners most consistent forwards, Badawiya has notched seven goals for her second A-League season, each being inside the box. The American has a total of 35 shots at goal, with 23 of those being on target and averages 73 minutes of playing time.

Head-To-Head 2023/2024 Season:

11-6-5SYD FC-RECORD-CCM10-5-7
16.8SHOTS PG15.3
3.0SAVES PG4.3
Mackennzie Hawkesby celebrates scoring the opening and only goal during the A-League Women Semi Final match between Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC.

Team News:

The Sky Blues may miss skipper Princess Ibini who obtained a shoulder injury last weekend. Maddie Caspers will unfortunately miss the rest of the season with thigh injury picked up on international duty whilst representing the Young Matildas. Fiona Worts, Kirsty Fenton and Nat Tobin continue to work on their recovery behind the scenes after sustaining injuries earlier in the season.

The Mariners are yet to release their lineup and have not declared any new injuries amongst their roster. Their squad should remain unchanged.

Last Time Out:

The first Semi Final leg was a gruelling battle for the squads. Sydney FC came out on top after Mackenzie Hawkesby slotted a goal in the opening minutes of the second half following an assist from youngster Indiana Dos Santos. In addition to Hawkesby’s goal, the Sky Blues had five other key chances to capitalise but were denied by the Mariners. Shea Connors, Cortnee Vine and Dos Santos each came close to scoring a goal. The Mariners turned up the heat with attempts from Chinese international Wurigumula, Badawiya and Matilda Kyah Simon, but Sky Blue goalkeeper Jada Whyman kept the opposition off the scoresheet.

Match Details:

Sydney FC v Central Caost Mariners
Liberty A-League Semi Final 2nd Leg
Saturday 27th April 2024
Leichhardt Oval, Sydney, NSW
Kick Off: 3:00pm AEST
Gates Open: 2:00pm AEST
Broadcast Live: Paramount+ & 10Play
Tickets: Click Here