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Perth Glory, Melbourne City advance to W-League Grand Final

Sam Kerr, Vanessa DiBernardo and Alyssa Mautz celebrate their 5-1 win over Sydney FC in the W-League semifinals. (photo by Westfield W-League)

 

Jess Fishlock celebrates her game-winning goal in extra time to send Melbourne City to their second consecutive Grand Final. (photo by Melbourne City)

Jess Fishlock celebrates her game-winning goal in extra time to send Melbourne City to their second consecutive Grand Final. (photo by Melbourne City)

Perth Glory 5, Sydney FC 1

Perth Glory advanced to their second Westfield W-League Grand Final in three seasons with an emphatic 5-1 home victory over Sydney FC in front of 1,592 fans in NIB Stadium on Saturday, February 4. Perth Glory clinched second and the home playoff berth with virtually the final kick a week ago, with Caitlin Douglas (who did not play in the semifinal) scoring over Western Sydney Wanderers (1-0) in injury time. Sydney’s loss in Adelaide last weekend (5-2) saw the original Harbour City team surrender its hold on first and slip to third, having achieved only one point in their final three games.

In Perth, Kyah Simon (ex- Boston Breakers) scored first in the 23rd minute for Sydney FC, but Chicago Red Stars loanee Vanessa DiBernardo tied up the match nine minutes later from the penalty spot, after her Red Star teammate Alyssa Mautz was taken down in the box. Sydney FC defender Alanna Kennedy (North Carolina Courage) scored an own goal near the hour mark—her mishit clearance went over the head of Sydney goalkeeper Claire Coelho and into the net—to give Perth a lead it would never relinquish. DiBernardo, Rosie Sutton and substitute defender and six-year Glory veteran Shawn Billam scored late goals to seal the win for the Western Australian side. Sutton scored her seventh goal of the season, while Di Bernardo has six and Billam scored her first of the campaign.

For Perth, Mautz and DiBernardo (both Chicago Red Stars), Nikki Stanton and Samantha Kerr (both Sky Blue FC) and Ari Romero (ex-Houston Dash) played the entire match. For Sydney, their NWSL offseason loanees Caitlin Foord (ex-Sky Blue FC), Kennedy and Simon all played 90 minutes, while Francisca Ordega (Washington Spirit) did not come off the substitutes’ bench.

Melbourne City 1, Canberra United 0

Sam Kerr, Vanessa DiBernardo and Alyssa Mautz celebrate their 5-1 win over Sydney FC in the W-League semifinals. (photo by Westfield W-League)

Sam Kerr, Vanessa DiBernardo and Alyssa Mautz celebrate their 5-1 win over Sydney FC in the W-League semifinals. (photo by Westfield W-League)

For the second straight year, Melbourne City had to go extra time in a semifinal to advance to its second Grand Final in two years, defeating 2016/17 Premiership winners Canberra United 1-0 on Jess Fishlock’s goal before a season high crowd of 5,072 in the Australian capital city on Sunday, February 5. Fishlock was promoted from assistant coach last month to manager when former manager Joe Montemurro took an assistant’s position with City’s men’s A-League side. Montermurro, who played in the National Soccer League in Australia and for minor league sides in Italy, won the Grand Final last season in charge of the City women’s side. Fishlock had two excellent chances in overtime, seeing her 100th-minute shot parried over the crossbar by Canberra goalkeeper Trudy Burke. Fishlock scored her seventh goal of the season seven minutes later, taking a deflected ball in the penalty box and slotting it home past Burke.

City will go to Perth next weekend for the Grand Final, which Perth will host for the second time in three seasons. The Glory lost to Canberra United 3-1 in their only previous Grand Final in 2014/15. City and the Glory played only once this season, with Perth winning away 3-2 in Round 8.

For City, NWSL loanees Lydia Williams (Houston Dash), Laura Alleway and Steph Catley (both Orlando Pride), Jess Fishlock, Lauren Barnes and Beverly Yanez (all Seattle Reign) played the entire match while Erika Tymrak (FC Kansas City) subbed out in the 79th minute for Amy Jackson. New Zealand international Rebekah Stott—a recent Seattle Reign signing for 2017—also played the full match, while Larissa Crummer—another new Reign player for 2017—has been out of action since Round 12 with a broken foot and will probably miss the Grand Final. For Canberra NWSL loanees Hayley Raso and Celeste Boureille (both Portland Thorns) and Stephanie Ochs (Houston Dash) played the entire match while Canberra striker Jasmyne Spencer (Orlando Pride) left the game in the 78th minute for her fellow Pride striker Lisa De Vanna. Former Houston Dash defender Ellie Brush entered in the 79th minute. Former Western New York Flash forward Michelle Heyman missed the game with an ankle injury.

Grand Final

Perth Glory vs Melbourne City, 3:30 am ET (Sunday)

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