Liberty A-League Women: Semi-Finals Wrap

There was plenty of drama spread across the two matchdays last weekend with extra time required to decide Sydney FC’s tie with Melbourne City while a close encounter played out at Coopers Stadium as Adelaide played Victory

ALW Semi-Final 1: Sydney FC vs Melbourne City

The Sky Blues entered this fixture on a high after only just claiming the Liberty A-League Women’s Premiership in Adelaide last weekend.

Their opponents, Melbourne City had to settle for second spot and arrived at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Friday night with a point to prove. Rado Vidosic’s side had only suffered three defeats throughout the whole campaign but two of those had come against Sydney with their latest match-up - a 3-0 defeat in Kogarah back in January.

City had clearly recovered from that defeat as they began their semi-final in the best way possible, finding themselves two to the good courtesy of a Hannah Wilkinson double by the hour mark. Their relatively healthy lead had seemingly done the trick on the Premiers however they did not have Cortnee Vine fooled as the substitute came on to pull one back on 73 minutes.

ALW Semi-Final: Sydney FC vs Melbourne City Highlights

It was then left for Maria Jose Rojas to equal the ledger in second half stoppage time to force the match into extra time with City now a woman down following Tyla-Jay Vlajnic’s dismissal in the 88th minute.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 11: Cortnee Vine of Sydney FC celebrates scoing a goal during the A-League Womens match between Sydney FC and Melbourne City at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, on March 11, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Momentum had now swung in favour of the home side and it was not long until they capitalised on the 10 players of City with Sarah Hunter putting them ahead for the first time in the contest in the 97th minute. Ante Juric’s women then delivered the damaging blow to City just after five minutes later thanks to Vine’s second of the evening.

To make matters worse, veteran goalkeeper, Melissa Barbieri was also given her marching orders in the dying stages of the encounter which means that Vlajnic and her will miss next week’s preliminary final.

ALW Semi-Final 2: Adelaide United vs Melbourne Victory

The second instalment of the ALW semi finals saw Adelaide United welcome Melbourne Victory to Coopers Stadium on Sunday.

Their previous meetings in the regular season had ended with quite high score lines as Victory blew away Adelaide 5-1 in December before United responded with a 3-0 win just under a month ago.

ALW Semi-Final: Adelaide United vs Melbourne Victory Highlights

ALW Semi-Final: Adelaide United vs Melbourne Victory Full Match

Sunday’s affair kicked into life around the hour mark with Victory captain Lia Privitelli opening the scoring for her side before a Nanako Sasaki free kick levelled the scoring just minutes later.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 13: Lia Privitelli of the Victory celebrates scoring a goal during the A-League Womens Semi Final match between Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory at Coopers Stadium, on March 13, 2022, in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

As the match wore on it appeared as though Victory were in the ascendency as they dominated large periods of play. They were eventually rewarded with the all-important winner thanks to Melina Ayres who volleyed home Privitelli’s cross in the 57th minute.

A hard fought victory in the city of churches sees Melbourne Victory championship dreams remain a possibility at the expense of United, as they bow out of the finals series.

We have a blockbuster awaiting us at AAMI Park this weekend as City face off against Victory on Sunday. The winner set to go head to head with Sydney FC in the showcase event the following weekend.

Watch Melbourne City vs Melbourne Victory this Sunday, March 20 (kick off 4:05 AEDT) live and free on 10 play

Liberty A-League Women – 2022 Fixtures