Sydney complete a remarkable season comeback | TWG
Sydney FC have won their second Westfield W-League championship, prevailing in a 3-1 win over Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Sunday.
A horrendous defensive error gifted Nicola Bolger the opener for Sydney before Petra Larsson's superb free-kick levelled the game before half-time.
But Sam Kerr's header and a penalty from Player of the Match Kyah Simon sewed up the title as Maika Ruyter-Hooley was given a straight red for the foul which resulted in the spot-kick being awarded.
Right from the outset, Sydney showed their attacking intent as the Sky Blues had a pair of golden chances in the 12th and 16th minutes when Matildas right-back Caitlin Foord skipped around two challenges but was denied by a Danielle Johnson block before Victory defender Gulcan Koca made a last-ditch tackle as Kerr was about to tap home.
Victory keeper Brianna Davey then made a superb full-stretch save on 23 minutes as Renee Rollason tried to spear a shot into the far corner.
Davey was put in the firing line two minutes later when Rebekah Stott left her back pass short of the Victory stopper and Davey's clearance rebounded off Sydney midfielder Bolger and trickled into the net.
Melbourne's first clear chance was created by American striker Jessica McDonald on 38 minutes as she turned into space in the penalty area and forced a superb save from Sky Blues keeper Shamiran Khamis from a tight angle.
After a near repeat of Sydney's first goal when Stott again left a back pass short of Davey, the Victory equalised with a sublime free-kick from Larsson in the 41st minute that struck the left upright and went in.
Three minutes after half-time, the Sky Blues retook the lead when Kerr placed her diving header past Davey after a well-weighted cross from Simon.
Khamis made several excellent saves throughout the match and her block on 59 minutes to deny Victory striker Enza Barilla from close range kept Sydney in front.
Some brilliant control by Simon opened up space for the Sky Blues in the 65th minute and her goal-bound effort was acrobatically tipped over the bar by Davey.
As the game opened up, Sydney substitute Larissa Crummer found herself through on goal on 84 minutes and Ruyter-Hooley brought down the attacker, conceding a penalty as the towering Victory defender was sent off for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Simon sent Davey the wrong way and she celebrated by making a silencing motion to the Victory supporters.
Sydney had finished the regular season in fourth position and celebrated wildly at the final whistle with their travelling fans.
Melbourne Victory 1 (Larsson 41)
Sydney FC 3 (Bolger 25, Kerr 48, Simon 85pen)
Melbourne Victory: 1. Brianna Davey (GK), 2. Danielle Johnson (c), 3. Maika Ruyter-Hooley, 4. Rebekah Stott, 5. Laura Spiranovic, 6. Petra Larsson, 7. Stephanie Catley, 10. Jessica McDonald (23. Jessica Humble 73), 14. Enza Barilla, 15. Amy Jackson, 17. Gulcan Koca
Red Card: Ruyter-Hooley 84
Sydney FC: 2. Teresa Polias, 3. Elizabeth Ralston, 4. Samantha Kerr, 7. Nicola Bolger (13. Larissa Crummer 80), 9. Caitlin Foord, 10. Renee Rollason, 11. Annalie Longo (18. Brittany Whitfield 91), 12. Chloe Logarzo (6. Natalie Tobin 88), 14. Alanna Kennedy, 17. Kyah Simon (c), 20. Shamiran Khamis (GK)