While depleted and thin on numbers, the task ahead of Sydney FC and Ante Juric this weekend is just as big as they take on last placed Wellington Phoenix.
After a fantastic result last weekend against Western United, the destiny of where the Premiers Plate goes to, lies in Sydney FC’s favour. Should they win their remaining matches of the season, they will be crowned premiers for a third consecutive season, something that has never been done in the Liberty A-League.
With only the top four teams qualifying for finals, it is a cut-throat season and sometimes, the teams that are mathematically out of contention can pose the biggest threat for the reigning premiers.
Two weeks prior, Juric’s team travelled to Auckland and took on the Wellington Phoenix for the first time overseas and were made to work hard for a 1-0 victory of which the sole goal came from substitute Rachel Lowe. With Wellington appearing to run out of steam, they had to be thankful for goalkeeper Brianna Edwards who kept the scoreline respectable after she made a number of key saves at the end.
Last week in the tussle with Western United, Rachel Lowe was on the scoresheet once again, scoring a first half brace before a beautiful Nat Tobin assist set up Princess Ibini for the third and final goal of the afternoon at a sun soaked Netstrata Jubilee Stadium. Of concern for the Sky Blues is the manner that last week finished with Nat Tobin shown a questionable second yellow card and subsequent red and Jada Whyman colliding with Charlotte Mclean from the resulting free-kick. All three are out for this Saturday’s match with The ‘Nix with Katie Offer likely to come in for Whyman while Tobin and Mclean’s absence will be tougher to fill.
For Wellington Phoenix, last week they held on for a 1-1 draw against Brisbane Roar as part of their Pride Celebration at Sky Stadium and since a poor start in the league have found a patch of form in the back half.
After only picking up one point in their opening eight matches, they shocked the league with a massive 5-0 victory over Canberra United which kickstarted their season. The ‘Nix followed that up with a come from behind draw against Brisbane Roar while a player light and two great performances against the two Sydney sides.
Nat Lawrence’s team are yet to win since their amazing victory over Canberra but most important to the Head Coach has been the manner of their performances in which they appear a much tougher side to beat.
Against Sydney FC they are yet to score a goal, with the previous three meetings finishing with an aggregate score of 9-0 to the Sky Blues. The Yellow and Black have also failed to score in eight of the last twelve games and have had the fewest attempts at goal too. Sydney FC on the other hand have scored the most goals in the league and have also made the most shots in the competition with a brilliant 234.
On the turf of Netsrtata Jubilee Stadium where Sydney FC tore apart Western United, we can expect the same intensity of passing and forward pressure with the likes of Cortnee Vine, Princess Ibini and Mackenzie Hawkesby all rearing to go.
Sydney FC v Wellington Phoenix
Liberty A-League Round 17
Saturday 11th March 2023
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah, NSW
Kick Off: 3:00pm AEDT
Gates Open: 2:00pm AEDT
Broadcast Live: Paramount+, 10Play & DubZone
Tickets: Click Here