Sydney coach’s update on Matildas star & his opposition report: ‘Probably best in the country’

Ante Juric spoke to media ahead of defending champions Sydney FC’s Liberty A-League clash against Melbourne City.

Sydney FC head coach Ante Juric revealed Cortnee Vine is set to miss this weekend’s Liberty A-League blockbuster against high-flying Melbourne City.

While Vine was in contention to return from a hamstring injury sustained on Matildas duty, the Sydney star sat out the 3-1 win over Adelaide United in Round 5.

She is expected to watch from the sidelines again on Sunday as the defending champions go head-to-head with rivals City, who are level with Perth Glory atop the table, at Sydney Olympic Park.

Vine is not the only Sky Blue set to miss out over the weekend.


“We still have Vine out, and (Kirsty) Fenton most likely,” Juric told reporters.

“They missed last week and will more than likely miss again. Lucy (Johnson) obviously got injured on the weekend, so she is in doubt.

“We do lose out a little bit with those players but the players that have come in – (Abbey) Lemon, Shea (Connors), Indi (Indiana Dos Santos) who started the other day, they have been excellent.”

Last week, Sydney returned to league action for the first time since October 21, when they lost to Brisbane Roar, due to the international break and their commitments in the AFC Women’s Championship.

The Sky Blues were based in Uzbekistan for their three group-stage fixtures, defeating Bam Khatoon and Nasaf, before falling to a 3-0 loss to Hyundai Steel Red Angels last week that saw them eliminated from the competition.

Now eighth in the standings and a point outside the top four with two games in hand, Sydney will play host to in-form City.

City, who lost Holly McNamara to a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury this week, are unbeaten through five rounds. Only they and Perth Glory are yet to taste defeat.


The last time City recorded a longer unbeaten run in the competition was a 17-match span from January 2019 to December 2020 (W15 D2). Sydney, however, have lost only one of their last six A-League Women matches against City (W4 D1) – a 2-1 defeat in February 2022.

Sydney are undefeated in their three meetings since then (W2 D1), their longest unbeaten run against them in the history of the competition.

“Historically we have good games,” Juric said. “They obviously started well and top of the table.

“They’re probably the best team I think in the country, them and (Melbourne) Victory in terms of squad and quality of the squad.

“It’s going to be a tough game but we’re ready for it. We’re the champions, so we want to show people what we’re about, even this early in the competition.”


When asked if there was an area where Sydney could take advantage of City, Juric added: “There are but I won’t mention them. They have a specific style.

“In the past certain things we’ve done have worked against them because most other teams don’t do that. Whatever we do, it’s a positive mindset defending and attacking and they’re probably not used to that with most clubs around the league.

“That’s why our games are quite good cause we’re at each other.”