Melbourne City FC will aim to maintain its unbeaten start to Westfield W-League football in a blockbuster showdown against Canberra United at GIO Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
It’s a blockbuster clash between two genuine heavyweights of the Westfield W-League. City travel to the nation’s capital in a positive mood after beginning its title defence with a narrow 1-0 win over Newcastle Jets in the opening round of the season.
Marianna Tabain’s early header was enough to maintain City’s perfect W-League record and extend a remarkable winning streak to 15 matches, but the hard fought contest was a stark indication of just how challenging this season will be.
The bar has lifted. Each team has stepped up their game, and no one will be more determined to knock City off its perch than two-time W-League champions Canberra United.
After having the bye last weekend, Canberra will kick-start their league campaign with a host of new faces, headlined by Japan Women’s World Cup winner Yukari Kinga.
The presence of the experienced Japanese international will add solidity at the back, but it is a potent strike force which looms as Canberra’s most devastating weapon.
Returning forward Hayley Raso and new American speedster Jasmyne Spencer will add significant pace and firepower to a Canberra frontline already boasting the goalscoring quality of Michelle Heyman and Ashleigh Sykes.
City prevailed with a thrilling 4-2 win over Canberra in the only previous meeting between the two sides last season. That encounter signalled the birth of a burgeoning W-League rivalry, one which is set to be rekindled in pulsating fashion at GIO Stadium.
Return of a hometown hero
After enjoying six successful seasons with Canberra United, goalkeeper Lydia Williams returns to face her hometown club for the first time as a Melbourne City player.
The Matildas shot-stopper demonstrated her immense quality on her City debut against Newcastle, producing several key saves to register a clean sheet, including a stunning save to deny Emma Stanbury.
Williams’ strong understanding with Matilda’s defenders Steph Catley, Laura Alleway and Teigen Allen will provide City with added cohesion at the back and will be key to blanketing a powerful Canberra attack.
City have only made the one change to the match day squad which faced Newcastle on the opening day, with defender Olivia Ellis coming in to replace Amy Jackson.
Reigning Golden Boot winner Larissa Crummer is making steady progress in her recovery from an ankle injury, but is still a few weeks away from returning to first team duties.
From the Dressing Room
“Canberra have a fantastic strike force but we have the structure and the way we play and we hope to dominate possession and create lots of chances. This week our training has been about structure, and as long as we keep that we’ll be a good chance.” – Melbourne City Women’s goalkeeper Lydia Williams
“From being that champion and now wanting that back, some of the girls have had a taste of it and now they want it back. It just means that every game we need to treat as an individual game and to try to win that game. If we can do that and get those wins along the way throughout the season then we’ll put ourselves in a really good position.” – Canberra United Head Coach Rae Dower
How to the follow the match
Get your popcorn ready and glue yourself to the couch for this one. You can watch our record-breaking women in action LIVE on Fox Sports 505 and ABC TV from 3:00pm.
Alternatively, you can follow all the match action on our official Twitter account @MelbCityWFC , using the hashtag: #CBRvMCY
Canberra United v Melbourne City FC
Saturday, 12 November 2016
Venue: GIO Stadium Kick-Off: 3:00PM (Local) (3:00PM (AEDT))
Referee: Rebecca Durcau
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 3.00pm (AEDT) and ABC TV from 3.00pm (AEDT)
Melbourne City Women’s FC squad: 1. Lydia WILLIAMS (GK), 2 Teigen ALLEN, 3. Lauren BARNES, 4. Rachel BINNING, 5. Laura ALLEWAY, 6. Aivi LUIK, 7. Steph CATLEY (c), 10. Jessica FISHLOCK, 11, Erika TYMRAK, 12. Olivia ELLIS, 13. Rebekah STOTT, 14, Melina AYRES, 17, Marianna TABAIN, 18, Jacynta GALABADAARACHCHI, 19. Tyla-Jay VLAJNIC, 30. Kelsey QUINN (GK) **one to be omitted**
Ins: 4. Rachel BINNING (promoted), 12. Olivia ELLIS (promoted)
Outs: 15. Amy Jackson (unavailable)
Unavailable: 9. Larissa Crummer (ankle – three weeks)