Sydney’s pursuit of history almost completed as a Matilda extends her red-hot form

Catch the highlights as Sydney FC faced Adelaide United in the Liberty A-League.

Sydney FC’s march towards a fourth successive Liberty A-League Premiership remains on track after the defending champions accounted for Adelaide United 3-0.

The Sky Blues reclaimed their place atop the summit at the end of Round 21 thanks to goals from Cortnee Vine, Mackenzie Hawkesby and Caley Tallon-Henniker at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.

Vine was the star of the show after scoring a goal and supplying an assist, with the Matildas forward now directly involved in 12 of Sydney’s last 15 goals scored (excluding own goals) in the Liberty A-League (7 goals, 5 assists) having scored five goals in four matches.

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Sydney – who can wrap up the Premiership against Canberra United on Wednesday – are one point clear of Melbourne City and they have a game in hand on their rivals, while Adelaide are now bottom of the standings.

No team in Liberty A-League history have won four straight Premier’s Plates.

Ante Juric’s Sydney entered the matchup having won eight of their last 10 games against Adelaide (L2); although the Sky Blues had led at half-time on the day only four times in that span.

But the titleholders looked like a team on a mission and hellbent on taking a step towards yet another Premiership in front of Sydney’s Isuzu UTE A-League star Max Burgess.

Some last-ditch defending from Ella Tonkin prevented a certain goal for Vine in the seventh minute after the Matildas star had rounded Annalee Grove.

But it was only a brief reprieve for Adelaide as Tallon-Henniker slotted home the opening goal moments later.

It was an attacking onslaught from Sydney. In the 10th minute, Princess Ibini forced a save from Grove, who was kept busy throughout the contest.

Hawkesby got in on the act for the rampant Sky Blues in the 24th minute. It was a stunning goal as Vine turned creator to tee up her teammate.

It was a special day for Sydney goalkeeper Jada Whyman, who joined an exclusive club after becoming just the fourth shot-stopper to play 100 games in the Liberty A-League.

There wasn’t too much to do for the centurion, though she was called into action just past the half-hour mark to keep out Sarah Morgan’s long-range effort.

Adelaide continued to push numbers forward and produced a much improved performance in the second half, though there was still space and opportunities for Sydney.

Vine had a pair of chances early in the second half, specifically one that saw the ball gifted to the Matildas forward after Adelaide tried to play out of Sydney’s press but she wasted the opportunity.

Shea Connors came off the bench and almost made it 3-0. However, she was thwarted by Grove 26 minutes from the end.

Adelaide should have reduced the deficit a couple of minutes later when an unmarked Isabel Hodgson had a goal at her mercy but somehow missed the cross completely.

Before Sunday, Vine had scored only one goal and provided one assist across her last 11 matches against Adelaide and her quest to add to that tally proved difficult once more as another chance went begging midway through the second half.

Grove produced another save to frustrated Vine 18 minutes from the end.

But there was no denying Vine in the closing stages as the Australia international raced past her opponent and Grove before slotting the ball into the back of the net for her 10th of the season – a career high having eclipsed the nine she scored in 2021-22.