Last season’s Champions Melbourne City are one step closer to their fourth consecutive finals appearance after defeating Sydney FC 2-0 on a windy Thursday night in Wollongong.
City’s second goal would arrive not long afterwards.
This time it was City full-back Teresa Nielsen who was able to get upfield to exploit the space behind substitute Julia Vignes. The Danish international squared the ball beautifully for Tameka Butt to chip it past Bledsoe's diving hands and into the net.
Sydney would have a couple of half-chances through Sophia Huerta and Chloe Logarzo in the closing stages, but the score remained 2-0 at the full-time whistle.
The final statistics say it all: City had 30 shots to Sydney's 6 and 24 crosses to 10, with an overall possession percentage of 70 percent to Sydney's 30 percent.
Despite the loss, Sydney head coach Ante Juric took some positives out of the performance.
“I was proud when I take it in context; we played only four days ago, so they’ve had two or three days’ longer rest than us,” he said.
“It’s tough to back up, especially in these conditions, and especially against a team that’s desperate. So in that sense, I’m not too displeased.”
Sydney’s superior goal difference coming into the game also provided a comfortable buffer, and perhaps softened the loss slightly. On Sydney’s efforts throughout the season, Juric was complimentary.
“We don’t get credit enough for being in this position. No team has scored more goals than us; no team has had as many chances as us, not even close. So we deserve to be in this position with what we’ve [produced],” he said.
With this result, Sydney maintains their record as the only team to have made the finals of the W-League every year since the league's inception. They will play their first semi-final away from home next week.