As the lights shine down on Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Wednesday night, those in Sky Blue will be hoping for three points which will see them return to the top of the Liberty A-League ladder with one game remaining.
Their opponents for this tough task are the hot Perth Glory who dispatched Melbourne City in dramatic circumstances on Sunday afternoon in the West.
The next 90 minutes will have huge implications on the final positions on the table with Sydney FC chasing a third consecutive Premiers Plate and Perth Glory chasing the remaining finals positions.
Last Saturday, Ante Juric’s Sydney FC welcomed back a number of their stars and were too good for a struggling Adelaide United, with goals to Rachel Lowe, Nat Tobin and Mackenzie Hawkesby proving the difference. United’s goalkeeper Annie Grove was very busy, making nine saves and preventing the Sky Blues from scoring more.
Defensive midfielder Shay Hollman missed this clash through injury and was replaced by 15-year-old Indiana Dos Santos who performed brilliantly and ended up being awarded the Under Armour Player of the Match for her efforts. With Hollman looking to be back soon, Juric will have a decision on his hands as to whether he sticks with the 15 year old or brings in the reliable Hollman.
Of a welcome sight to Sydney FC fans was the return of Madison Haley who came on as a second half substitute and she had a hand in the third goal with a delightful ball over the top to find Princess Ibini. With a hip injury that has kept her sidelined for a number of weeks, her return in time for finals is very key for the NSW side as they look to win the grand final for the first time in a number of years.
Three points against the Glory will move the Sky Blues ahead of Western United by one point, meanwhile a loss will be almost fatal to the Premiers Plate charge.
The Perth Glory have been a sleeping giant this season, quietly going about their business as they rack up points and continue to climb the ladder. They currently sit in sixth position, just three points off Canberra United and Melbourne Victory who are both on 28 and know that a win in Kogarah on Wednesday night will catapult them into the finals equation.
Last weekend, they shocked powerhouses Melbourne City with a pulsating 4-3 victory in what was one of the games of the season as Perth Glory scored four goals in the space of 18 minutes to come from behind. The team from the West only had four shots on target and converted all of them to leave City shocked as they are now dragged into the finals equation when it appeared that they were clear of the chasing pack.
Of note to Ante Juric and Sydney FC will be Glory’s ability to take their chances when they come, after City had 32 shots, of which 11 were on target. Alex Epakis’ team only had 36% of possession all afternoon however what the home support were treated to, was a brilliant team performance filled with resilience.
Perth come into this clash with Sydney FC having only lost one of their last eight matches which came at the hands of Adelaide United, beating the likes of Wellington, Western United, Newcastle Jets and the Brisbane Roar along the way. However, they have struggled away from home this season, only able to pick up wins against Western United and Wellington Phoenix this campaign.
The last meeting between the two sides came in Launceston where Nat Tobin’s header was added to by Cortnee Vine and the “visitors” ran out comfortable 3-1 winners in some wet conditions. The last victory of Glory’s in this fixture came back in early 2020 and since then, Sydney FC have held the upper hand.
The Sky Blues’ last championship trophy came against Perth Glory in 2019 at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium. The Sydney FC and Perth rivalry goes back to the start of the then W-League when a dominant Sydney FC recorded their biggest ever victory with an 11-0 win.
Whatever the result on Wednesday night, there will be keen eyes from other teams as Sydney look to clinch another Premiers Plate and Perth Glory look to climb the table even more.
Sydney FC v Perth Glory
Liberty A-League Round 11
Wednesday 29th March 2023
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah, NSW
Kick Off: 7pm AEDT
Gates Open: 6pm AEDT
Broadcast Live: Paramount+ & 10Play
Tickets: Click Here