Sydney FC Women overcame nearest neighbours Western Sydney Wanderers 2-0 to open their 2023-24 A-League Women season with victory in front of a record Liberty A-League crowd of 11,471.
Sydney FC 2 (Fenton 11’, Worts 37’) def. Western Sydney Wanderers 0
Moments That Mattered
11’ – FENTON GOAL – Kruger’s cross is only headed out as far as Fenton, whose excellent shot from 18 yards finds the top corner.
14’ – KRUGER CLOSE – Worts plays through Vine who rounds the goalkeeper, and from a tight angle picks out Kruger, whose shot diverts inches past the post.
37’ – WORTS GOAL – Ibini threads a superb ball in behind for Worts, and the lobbed finish into the far corner is equally as impressive.
70’ – WHYMAN SAVE – Whyman does excellently to leap to her right and hold a fierce shot by Harding from outside the area.
What They Said: Ante Juric: “In terms of being happy, I was really happy – there were some good signs.
“In the first half, we were exceptional. The momentum changed a bit in the second half, and Jada [Whyman] had to make a couple of saves. We struggled in possession at times, but it’s the first game and really early days.
“Three points are nice and it’ll be good if we can keep accumulating when we’re not at our best – then hopefully we get it all right between mid-season and the back end.”
Match Report: Three points to start for Sydney FC Women, kicking off the Liberty A-League Women campaign on a high note with a 2-0 win over neighbours Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday night.
Kirsty Fenton and Fiona Worts struck with two superb finishes in the first half for the Sky Blues, enough to take the first three points on offer at the Allianz Arena.
Sydney FC got themselves onto the front foot early on and the dominance remained throughout the first half, breaking away in behind the Western Sydney defence on numerous occasions.
Chances came regularly during the opening 45, with Kruger, Princess Ibini and Cortnee Vine all going close – visiting goalkeeper Kaylie Collins required to stay on red alert.
But the rewards were reaped before the break, as the Sky Blues opened the scoring after 11 minutes in some style.
Kruger took possession of the ball on the right-hand side of the area and lofted it into the six-yard box, headed only as far as Fenton – the connection was clean as a whistle, as the shot from the edge of the 18-yard area arrowed into the far corner with Collins only able to muster a hand to it.
It was nearly Kruger herself who doubled the lead just three minutes later, as she diverted Vine’s cutback millimetres wide after the Matildas star had latched onto Worts’ pass.
But with eight minutes until the interval, Worts delivered with an equally remarkable goal, running onto Ibini’s excellently weighted ball and sending a lobbed effort delicately into the net.
Though the second half began with Ante Juric’s side in a commanding lead, it proved to be a bittersweet note just after the restart, as skipper Nat Tobin was stretchered from the field following an awkward landing in a challenge with Wanderers’ Sophie Harding.
It had to be said that Wanderers showed a vast improvement in the second half, making several breaks into the box having not threatened Jada Whyman at all before half-time.
And Whyman was called upon to take the sting out of the visitors’ attack twice in quick succession, denying Harding with a great diving catch, before tipping Melissa Caceres’ strike over the bar.
As the game approached the final 15 minutes, Sydney FC regained more consistent possession and ventured further into the Wanderers’ final third, Vine at the forefront of the late opportunities.
The game was managed well by the home side to see out a welcome win and clean sheet, starting off 2023-24 with a bang.
Sydney FC: 1. Jada WHYMAN (GK), 3. Charlotte McLEAN, 4. Tori TUMETH (10. Sienna SAVESKA 80’), 5. Kirsty FENTON, 6. Lucy JOHNSON, 11. Cortnee VINE, 12. Natalie TOBIN © (14. Abbey LEMON 53’), 19. Zara KRUGER, 20. Princess IBINI, 21. Shay HOLLMAN (18. Taylor RAY 80’), 23. Fiona WORTS (13. Aideen KEANE 66’).
Unused Subs: 30. Tahlia FRANCO (GK).
Yellow Cards: Hollman (29’), Keane (74’)
Western Sydney Wanderers: 1. Kaylie COLLINS (GK), 2. Victoria BRUCE, 4. Madison McCOMASKY, 6. Amy CHESSARI, 7. Amy HARRISON © (3. Gemma FERRIS 83’), 9. Sophie HARDING, 11. Danika MATOS, 15. Cushla RUE (18. Maliah MORRIS 83’), 17. India BREIER (10. Melissa CACERES 46’), 21. Alexia APOSTOLAKIS (8. Olivia PRICE 90’), 32. Bethany GORDON.
Unused Subs: 20. Shamiran KHAMIS (GK).
Yellow Cards: Harrison (26’)
Venue: Allianz Stadium
Referee: Casey Reibelt