If Melbourne City are to have any hope of pinching the A-League Women premiers plate from Sydney FC, they'll have to beat the Sky Blues in their upcoming clash.
Melbourne City will embrace the pressure of their box office clash with Sydney FC, well aware anything less than a win will cost them their shot at the A-League Women premiers plate.
Melbourne City versus Sydney FC
- Melbourne City will take on Sydney FC on Sunday afternoon.
- Sydney lead in the ladder by five points, but City have a game at hand.
- A City win could bring the premiers plate race down to the wire.
More A-League Women's news can be found on The Women's Game.
City are five points behind leaders Sydney, albeit with a game in hand, ahead of Sunday's game at AAMI Park.
"To play them so close to the finals, I think that that is very important for us," coach Rado Vidosic said.
"Everything is in our hands, the same as it is in their hands. They win on Sunday and they probably clinch the title, we win on Sunday and the title is closer to us than to anyone else (bar Sydney).
"But even if this result doesn't go our way, to play them twice before the finals will give us a little bit more insight on how to play them in the finals."
Vidosic said he would draw on cross-town rivals Melbourne Victory's hard-fought, come-from-behind 2-2 draw against the Sky Blues, after City copped a 3-0 away loss to Sydney earlier in the season.
"One thing that we've learned from the Melbourne Victory game is we just need to stay in the game," he said.
"The longer you stay in the game the more chances you may have.
"Because first game against us they were outstanding, they finished us off well before we could stay in the game, figuratively speaking."
Star forward Holly McNamara, who missed that game through Matildas duty, was confident City could unlock the unbeaten Sky Blues.
"If we play our game, we are one of the best in the league on our day," she said.
"We are focused on ourselves. We know they have big players, especially up front, so minimising that risk and just playing our game will be best for us."
City are without joint golden boot leader Hannah Wilkinson and imperious midfielder Rebekah Stott due to New Zealand's SheBelieves Cup campaign.
"We do have a bit of depth in our sport, so we can just definitely shuffle things around and bring some new people in who can do the job very well," McNamara said.
"They're big losses, but we can definitely do some switching around and play well."
Sydney's Kiwi Paige Satchell and Chilean international Maria Jose Rojas will also miss the clash through national team duties.
The game was officially moved to AAMI Park on Friday due to COVID-19 related impacts on the broadcast operations at Kingston Heath.
"But he's given himself that opportunity to play, hopefully in the Bundesliga. It's great, hopefully it's part of a big journey for him."
The full A-League Women's schedule can be found using this link.