Matildas forward makes ‘statement’ with memorable double, including jaw-dropping goal

Catch the highlights as Melbourne Victory took on Western Sydney Wanderers in the Liberty A-League.

Tony Gustavsson, are you watching? Matildas forward Emily Gielnik put on a show with a brace as she reached a Liberty A-League milestone in Melbourne Victory’s 4-0 rout of Western Sydney Wanderers.

Gielnik made a “statement” with her two-goal performance, which included an outrageous goal from the centre circle to reach 50 Liberty A-League goals and lead Victory past Western Sydney at the Home of the Matildas on Friday night.

Mckenzie Weinert also scored twice but it was Gielnik, who stole the show with her performance as she moved equal fourth on the competition’s all-time goalscorers list while Victory leapfrogged the Wanderers into fourth.

Gielnik, who has not played for the Matildas since October 2022 due to fitness issues, has now scored three goals in two games.

“This has been a statement showing from Emily Gielnik,” said Paramount+ commentator Teo Pellizzeri said after her long-range goal.

“It’s everything you want to see from Gielnik, starting to get back into the old Gielnik and the form we know she can be in,” said Young Matildas head coach Leah Blayney.

Pellizzeri added: “Everyone’s going to be talking about her after this.”

He continued: “For those of you who didn’t follow Dub at the Cup, Emily Gielnik was a guest on that a number of times during the Women’s World Cup and she used the word burning to describe how she felt about missing the World Cup at home.

“Burning to get back for the Olympic qualifiers. She didn’t get fit for those and she didn’t get fit in time for the upcoming series against Uzbekistan. There’s no shortage of motivation.

“Now if her body can hold up its end of the bargain, we are seeing Emily Gielnik back to her best.”

It was a tight start to proceedings at the Home of the Matildas, where Victory dominated from the outset.

Victory did have the ball in the back of the net via Gielnik in the 13th minute, though the flag was up for offside.

The Matildas forward was in the thick of it again just four minutes later. After a great interception from fellow Australia international Alex Chidiac, Gielnik brushed off two opponents and almost found the back of the net with a wicked effort following a wonderful individual run.

Victory made the breakthrough in the 20th minute courtesy of a high attacking press that drew a mistake from Wanderers goalkeeper Kaylie Collins.

Western Sydney had tried to play out from the back amid pressure from Chidiac and Weinert maintained the press as she chased down Collins and saw the ball end up in the back of the net.

The Wanderers responded well to falling behind, generating a couple of long-range efforts though Golden Boot hopeful Sophie Harding – called into the Matildas squad this week for the first time – continued to be isolated up front.

There were two quick-fire chances for Victory to start the second half – Gielnik’s ball across the six-yard box somehow evaded Rachel Lowe before Chidiac’s strike from the edge of the box flashed just wide of the post.

Veteran midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight came within a whisker of scoring her first Liberty A-League goal since 2018 but her 56th-minute free-kick rattled the crossbar.

Gielnik doubled the lead on the hour when he powerful header from a corner went through two bodies and into the back of the her – her sixth goal in 10 matches against Western Sydney, and she almost bagged a second moments later as he shot trickled agonisingly wide of the post.

Weinert made it 3-0 three minutes later when she headed the ball into the back of the net from close range – the first brace of her career.

Gielnik saved her best for last 19 minutes from the end – catching Collins off her line as scored from just inside the halfway line in incredible scenes.