For the second time in three seasons, Perth Glory will play off for the W-League championship after a blistering second half against Sydney FC.
As it happened
Perth Glory are into the W-League grand final after an impressive 5-1 home victory, over finals veterans, Sydney FC.
American import Vanessa DiBernando scored a brace to bring Glory back from the brink, after Sydney led the game 1-0 through a Kyah Simon strike.
The USA playmaker, who has had an impressive second season for Glory, scored either side of an Alanna Kennedy own goal, which ensured the home side were in complete control of the game.
From 3-1 up, the good times were rolling for Glory, who asserted their dominance, as a weary Sydney chased the game.
Rosie Sutton and Shawn Billam put the icing on the finals cake for Glory, who ran out 5-1 winners in front of the 1,592 strong home crowd.
Perth Glory – Key Players
Goal scorer DiBernardo had a huge impact on the game. The playmaker was influential for Perth in controlling the play, allowing fellow American, Nicole Stanton and Alyssa Mautz to blanket the midfield. This in turn, meant that captain Sam Kerr, had free reign to run at the Sydney defence, who ended up being run off their feet for most of the afternoon.
The performance was a true team effort, which is highlighted by the names on the score sheet. For Perth Glory to score five, without Kerr hitting the back of the net, demonstrates the growth, progression and confidence in this team.
The fifth goal was arguably the best of the bunch. It started with goalkeeper Gabby Dal Busco and ended with a super strike from Shawn Billiam, who was making her 50th appearance for the club. There were 14 passes in the lead up to the goal, which showcased Glory’s love and ability in playing football the right way.
As well as the big name internationals, youngster Natasha Rigby is also well worth a mention. The Margaret River native was playing for Queens Park in the WA Bankwest Premier League only months ago, but she put in her best display of the season so far, showing no signs of nerves, in her biggest match to date.
Overall, it was a real team effort. Each player on the park deserves credit, as this team continues to surprise and surpass expectations.
Final remarks must go to Samantha Kerr, who has grown as a captain in Season 9. She has been an exceptional role model and led by example on and off the field. Glory fans will be hoping she can lead her team to victory in the Grand Final.
Delight for Depotovski
The Glory coach labelled his side as underdogs going into the semi-final game, so the 5-1 thumping they dished out to Sydney even surprised even him.
“It feels surreal actually. I did not expect 5-1 result. We knew fitness wise that we are very prepared and we knew that if we could hold off Sydney for a long enough period of time we could come through and take the game. We stuck to our game plan and this achievement is thoroughly deserved.” He said.
“Vanessa put in a fantastic performance but it’s not only Vanessa. Its Sam, Rosie, Tash Rigby, it’s the whole squad. Each and every single one of them has been outstanding. We can talk about the goals but what about Nicki Stanton stopping every single attack, we have some unsung heroes in our squad. Every one of them deserves credit.”
When asked about Sam Kerr’s contribution this season, the coach couldn’t sing her praises loud enough. He enthused…
“Samantha is the best footballer in this country by a country mile. She’s shown that again today. She’s in good form, she’s healthy, she’s doesn’t carry any injuries and she’s happy to be the captain of this team and play in the grand final and there is still a lot more to come from Sammy Kerr”.
Looking ahead to the big one, the coach has a very simple message.
“We’re going to enjoy the week. We’re going to go to the training sessions very happy, full of laughter and work on a few things. The message will be ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Simple’”
Where did it go wrong for Sydney FC
Unfortunately for the Sky Blues, they hit a bad run of form in the home stretch of Season 9. They lost out on the premiership with crushing back to back defeats. Firstly a 3-1 home defeat by the Newcastle Jets and then a 5-2 thrashing in Adelaide, which left them in 3rd position on the ladder.
Conceding 13 goals at the pointy end of the season is never going to end well.
Unfortunately for Sydney, whilst they were leaking goals -13 in three games- they had also lost their scoring touch, with only 4 goals in reply.
Although they had the highest possession rate of any of the top 4 teams – 58%, across the whole season- they failed to fire on all cylinders of attack.
They had the lowest shots on target per game -4.3- demonstrating their lack of cutting edge in the final third. These stats were evident again against a strong Glory side that held no punches.
Sydney arguably underestimated the task ahead, perhaps falling for the Depotovski psychology that the home side were the under dogs.
The Sky Blues will look to build on an ultimately disappointing Season 9 campaign.
Grand Final in the West
Perth Glory will be thrilled to secure a home Grand Final for the second time in three seasons.
Back in 2014, the then premiers lost out to Canberra United 3-1 at the NIB stadium.
The team in purple will be looking to right wrongs and deny current champions Melbourne City back to back championships.
The Glory have every chance of success with Sam Kerr at the helm as they look to bag their first grand final win in the club’s history.
The Grand Final will be held at the NIB with a 4.30pm (local time) kick off.
Perth Glory 5 (Vanessa Di Bernardo 29’ pen, 77’, Alanna Kennedy 58’ O.G., Rosie Sutton 80’, Shawn Billam 93’)
Sydney FC 1 (Kyah Simon 23’)
Saturday 4 February 2017
nib Stadium, Perth
Referee: Casey Reibelt
Perth Glory: Gabrielle Dal Busco (gk), Sarah Carroll, Kim Carroll, Alyssa Mautz, Nicole Sutton, Rosie Sutton (Carla Bennett 88’), Vanessa DiBernardo, Jaymee Gibbons (Shawn Billam 72’), Natasha Rigby, Sam Kerr (c), Arianna Romero
Substitutes – Melissa Maizels (gk), Patricia Charalambous, Caitlin Doeglas
Cautions – Kim Carroll 32’
Sydney FC: Claire Coelho (gk), Teresa Polias (c), Remy Siemsen (Amy Harrison 69’), Liz Ralston, Servet Uzunlar, Nicola Bolger (Princess Ibini 81’), Caitlin Foord, Georgia Yeoman-Dale, Alanna Kennedy, Kyah Simon, Leena Khamis (Olivia Price 69’)
Substitutes – Sarah Easthope (gk), Francisca Ordega
Cautions – Georgia Yeoman-Dale 28’, Teresa Polias 70’, Servet Uzunlar 75’