Melbourne Victory have qualified for their fourth straight A-League finals campaign despite being fortunate to hold Canberra United to a 0-0 draw.
Melbourne Victory only scraped into the A-League Women finals after surviving a determined Canberra United effort to secure a 0-0 draw on Friday night, but coach Jeff Hopkins remains confident they can mount a title push.
Melbourne Victory - Canberra United
- Melbourne held Canberra to a 0-0 result during their Friday A-League match.
- The draw was enough to get a fourth place in the ladder and a place in the finals series.
- Adelaide United, Melbourne City and Sydney FC have likewise qualified for the finals.
More A-League Women's news can be found on The Women's Game.
Victory's best chances in the clash at AAMi Park arrived very late and after a number of Canberra opportunities, the home side nonetheless escaping with a share of the spoils to move them onto 24 points in the final standings.
Perth Glory downed Wellington 3-1 in a simultaneous kick-off in Wollongong to also end on 24 points but with their goal difference seven back of Victory.
Victory now find themselves staring down the barrel of a visit to red-hot Adelaide United in the first week of the finals - a side that beat them 3-0 at Coopers Stadium a week ago.
7 wins, 3 draws, 4 losses.— Liberty A-League (@aleaguewomen) March 4, 2022
Seven goals separated @gomvfc and @PerthGloryFC.
The Victory will play in the finals, the Glory will not.
It's a cruel sport, sometimes.
Full time wrap: https://t.co/BCcPho5P1a#MVCvCBR #WELvPER #WeAreALeagues pic.twitter.com/W8i3EQhMnO
Nonetheless, coach Jeff Hopkins believes there are enough nascent signs, especially with the benefit of added rest, for hope.
"I look at the last three or four games and I can easily see that there have been reasons for the lack of form, for the lack of results," he said.
"We're all quite clear on what we need to do and what we need to do better.
"Having another six, seven-day break... we'll be much better for it. Fatigue really does affect the way we play.
"We went to Brisbane last year after losing 6-0 to them and then put six past them. We've been there, we've had to do two away trips to win it so that side of things doesn't phase us."
Led by A-League record-holder for goals Michelle Heyman, Canberra's frequent forays forward in transition forced Victory to frequently desperately scramble to avoid defeat - as well as ride their luck on a few occasions.
Victory goalkeeper Dumont was best on ground for her side, with her intervention key in keeping Victory in it and allowing their late chances to Harriet Withers, Kyra Cooney-Cross and Catherine Zimmerman to almost win it.
After at one point looking set to claim the wooden-spoon, Canberra United are undefeated in their last four and finished sixth on the table.
Unfortunately for coach Vicki Linton, A-League's long offseason means it will be difficult for them to capitalise on their late momentum heading into the 2022-23 season.
"I don't think (momentum) can with a big off-season," she said.
"There tends to be turnover.
"In my last two seasons we've had to start from scratch and it's taken all this time to get players that have come in really bedded in."
The full A-League Women's schedule can be found using this link.