Sydney FC’s Big Blue showdown becomes bigger

Sydney FC will need to win if they’re to secure a record-breaking fourth consecutive Premiership Plate at Leichhardt Oval, when they face Melbourne Victory in an Easter Sunday Big Blue blockbuster (4pm).

With the Sky Blues travelling back to Sydney after a frustrating defeat against Canberra United, they know that a win against their rivals would mean more than just bragging rights.

The Sky Blues sit one point above second place Melbourne City and with one round to go of the home-and-away season, Sydney FC know if they win, they are Premiers.

If they lose or draw, they will have to watch the Perth Glory vs Melbourne City game, which starts just after they finish.

The fixture will also be excellent preparation for the Sydney FC side, as they will want to go into their finals campaign knowing they can defeat teams in the top six, who have quality Matildas players such as the Dark Blues’ Emily Gielnik and Alex Chidiac.

Cortnee Vine and Princess Ibini waiting for a corner

On Wednesday, it was a frustrating game for Sydney FC against Canberra United, where in the first half they made 11 attempts and dominated territory, but goalkeeper Chloe Lincoln was there to block their shots.

A Michelle Heyman goal five minutes before the hour mark saw the game turn on its head, and the Sky Blues ramped up the intensity.

However, they could not capitalise, seeing the game finish 1-0, meaning that Sydney FC could not secure the Premiership away. 

Abbey Lemon against Canberra United

For the Melbourne Victory, they come into this match knowing that a win or draw will be enough to secure Finals football.  

But, if the Dark Blues lose, they could drop out of the top six if the Newcastle Jets defeat Adelaide United on Friday night.

Victory has had a ferocious attacking season, led by Rachel Lowe and Matilda Emily Gilenik, where the Dark Blues have scored the most goals out of any side in the Liberty A-League (40).

Melbourne was on a nine-game unbeaten streak until they suffered a comeback loss against the Jets last Saturday.

The Victory started on the front foot, with ex-Sydney FC player Rachel Lowe firing the ball into the back of the net in the 14th minute.

But the Newcastle Jets kept Melbourne in their half and found an equaliser through Lauren Allan.

Tori Hansen scored a second for Victory nine minutes after halftime, but former Victory player Melina Ayres scored two goals in seven minutes to win it for Newcastle.

The Dark Blues will go into the Big Blue knowing that they have had eight days of preparation compared to the four days the Sky Blues have after playing against Canberra.

One’s To Watch:

Former- Sydney FC Championship winner Rachel Lowe will return to face the Sky Blues in Sydney for the first time since leaving the club last season.

However, she could be up against a woman she has never played a match against in Margaux Chauvet, who has been one of the Sky Blues’ stand-out players in the past couple of weeks.

Margaux Chauvet against the Western Sydney Wanderers

Margaux Chauvet

The Sydney FC CDM played out of her skin against Adelaide United on Sunday, coming down with two leg cramps, which saw the pickle juice brought out to her on numerous occasions.

Chauvet was everywhere on Sunday, becoming a fifth defender when the Reds were attacking and helping with the Sky Blues’ quick transition when they were counterattacking.

But this momentum she has been building started against the Wanderers, with the CDM making the most passes in the team, which she did again against Adelaide.

The 21-year-old won 15 ground duels, made eight long balls and five tackles, and dribbled past two players to block a shot against the Reds. 

In Canberra, Chauvet made 37 passes, five tackles and four dribbles before she was subbed off in the 55th minute.

Rachel Lowe

Rachel Lowe is a familiar player to Ante Juric, having won one Championship and three Premierships with Sydney FC.

The midfielder has had her best A-League season, scoring eleven goals and sitting fourth in the Golden Boot tally.

With Lowe alongside Matildas Chidiac and Gielnik in the forward/midfield pack, these three players have often connected to make chances. 

Lowe makes 2.7 shots per game, where 1.5 of them are on target, and out of the ten goals she scored with her feet, she’s been able to do it five a piece on her left and right foot.

The ex-Sydney FC player scored against the Sky Blues earlier this season off a penalty.

Compare the Pair: 2023/2024:

11-6-4SYD – RECORD – MVC9-6-6
5-2-3H2H – LAST 10 GAMES3-2-5
8-2-5H2H IN SYD5-2-8
17SHOTS PG15.9
2.8SAVES PG3.6
9.9FOULS PG10.9

Team News:

No players sustained injuries for Sydney FC against Canberra so that the side will remain unchanged. 

The Dark Blues will be hoping that Matilda’s goalkeeper, Lydia Williams, is fit to play as she is expected to return this week or next due to an ankle injury.

Melbourne Victory will also continue without goalkeeper Miranda Templemen after she sustained a knee injury in January.

Last Time Out: 

The last Big Blue matchup on Australia Day saw the Sky Blues fight out a 1-1 draw despite dominance on the ball and a controversial Victory penalty. 

Sydney FC started on the front foot when Cortnee Vine sneaked past the Melbourne defence and tapped the ball over to Maddie Caspers’, who finished into the bottom left corner. 

Cortnee Vine with the ball

But, 13 minutes later, Kellond-Knight crossed the ball towards McKenzie Weinart, and she smashed into Jada Whyman whilst trying to head it. Rachel Lowe converted the penalty. 

The Sky Blues controlled the second half, but they could not convert their chances, with Zara Kruger even hitting the post with seconds left on the clock.

Match Details: 

Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory Liberty A-League Round 22 Sunday 31st of March, 2024 Leichhardt Oval, Sydney, NSW Kick-off: 4:00PM AEDT Gates Open: 3:00PM AEDT Broadcast Live: Paramount+ and 10Play Tickets: Click Here