Sky Blues extend gap at the top with comfortable win over struggling City

Goals to Remy Siemsen and Natalie Tobin helped Sydney FC clinch a 2-0 win over Melbourne City in a Grand Final rematch at AAMI Park on Thursday night.

Champions City were not helped by the second-half dismissal of Tyla-Jay Vlanjic for a challenge on Cortnee Vine as the current league-leaders scored twice in the second stanza to notch their fifth win from five games in the 2020/21 campaign.

A goalless first half was not without its chances. Jada Whyman and Teagan Micah were at their brilliant best to thwart opportunities at either end, with Alex Chidiac and Princess Ibini seeing their respective chances go begging thanks to smothering saves by the two goalkeepers. 

Chances then presented to each side just five minutes into the second half, and ultimately the contest was decided in the seconds between the two attempts. 

City’s Chinatsu Kira blew her strike over the bar down one end, allowing Sydney to repel and launch an attack through a long ball chased down by Vine, who outmuscled Emma Checker to send Siemsen in on goal to convert the opener. 

On top and in control the Sky Blues pursued a sealing goal. Vine continued to provide a menacing presence in attack, using her blistering speed to draw Vlanjic into a rash challenge which resulted in a red card for the City defender.

A player down and a goal behind, the hosts responded well and continued to push for an equaliser. Chidiac and Harriet Withers tested Whyman before injuries to key players Jenna McCormick and Teigen Allen left City lacking the defensive quality to repel a Sky Blues corner which Natalie Tobin headed home with ease to put Sydney two goals to the good.

With a two-goal lead and an extra player on the park the Sky Blues were in control. Siemsen and Vine were presented with late chances to turn a two goal win into a comprehensive rout but those chances were wasted; the visitors came away with three points regardless, clinching their fifth win in as many games and extending their gap on top of the Westfield W-League table.

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Key Moments

Immense Whyman save keeps Chidiac off the scoresheet

After a magnificent run and pass from Withers found Chidiac on the edge of the box, the Westfield Matildas midfielder’s deft turn put the goal at her mercy.

Whyman seemed completely helpless to keep Chidiac’s shot at bay but the Sydney stopper rushed off her line and formed an intimidating figure in front of the City midfielder.

Chidiac’s shot went straight into the body of Whyman and deflected away from danger, somehow keeping the score at 0-0.

Ibini too quick for Sydney’s defence – but not for Micah

After Whyman produced her best work to keep City scoreless the hosts had to rely on Micah to produce a save of equal quality later in the half to ensure Sydney didn’t steal a half-time lead.

Ibini was the trouble-maker in Sydney’s attack, driving toward the box and cutting onto her left foot, leaving Allen in her wake as she sized up the goal.

It was a tighter angle than what was presented to Chidiac down the other end but the chance was still a big one for the Sky Blues. Micah – who has produced a string of top-quality saves throughout the season so far – was well up to the challenge, pouncing quickly at Ibini’s feet to close the space and make the save.

Kira misses, Sydney counter, Siemsen scores 

A miss from Kira down one end proved incredibly costly for City, who found themselves a goal down within a minute as Siemsen showed the clinical finishing which City’s Japanese attacker needed down the other end.

It was a long ball into attack which sparked the Sky Blues chance on goal. Checker was camped under the ball and Vine gave chase, going shoulder to shoulder with the City defender and winning the ball in a dangerous space.

Vine fed the ball to Siemsen who took one touch to control and another touch to finish, brushing her shot into the bottom right corner of the net to put the visitors ahead.

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Vine too quick as Vlanjic desperation leads to red card

A simple burst of pace was all it took for Vine to draw Vlanjic into a desperate challenge in an attempt to quell the dangerous speedster’s impact.

That attempt failed; instead Vlanjic hacked the winger down as Vine looked to dribble into the box. A red card was brandished in Vlanjic’s direction and City were down to ten.

Tobin heads home with ease as understrength City roll over

City’s challenge was immense with ten players on the park, but that challenge became all the more difficult with McCormick on the sidelines getting injury treatment as Teresa Polias prepared to play a corner into the box.

With nine players defending the corner City struggled to contain the threat. Tobin ghosted to the back post and headed an unmarked attempt into the back of the net to put the Sky Blues two goals ahead.