Canberra United welcome Sydney FC to McKellar Park this weekend aiming to secure a victory and keep up the pressure for a place in the end of season finals. However, the title-chasing Sky Blues will provide a stern test.
After a welcome return to the winners circle last time out, a 3-0 success over Newcastle Jets, United enter this Liberty A-League Round 14 encounter in sixth place and on the cusp of reigniting their top four hopes.
A brace of heavy defeats had left those external to the club questioning the direction, and yet United have never let those doubts enter the mind and are confident of achieving what many might see as an upset win to continue the good progress that secured a vital three points in Northern New South Wales.
Three goals in a terrific five-minute spell underlined the club’s upward trajectory as midfielder Laura Hughes and top-scorer Michelle Heyman struck twice in the space of two minutes, before a Grace Maher penalty made it three.
The goal for Heyman took the super-striker to half-a-dozen for the campaign and edged her closer to the century goal mark having recently racked up her 150th Liberty A-League appearance.
Traditionally fixtures between United and Sydney in Canberra have been close-run affairs, Canberra having won five of the eleven games played in the national capital, Sydney three, with the other three matches ending in stalemate.
It has been the Sky Blues who have enjoyed the most recent successes though, United having to go back to 2 December 2018 for their last win against the city slickers, and indeed, their last goal, the five matches against Sydney FC since then seeing Canberra unable to penetrate the solid Sydney FC defence.
The visitors come into the game bang full of confidence having exerted their dominance last weekend in a 3-0 dismantling of their own, Melbourne City on the receiving end at Allianz Stadium. There’s no doubt that Ante Juric’s team will be a proper examination for United, but there’s nothing like a visit from Sydney to raise the levels, both on and off the pitch.
Saturday 11 February 2023
Canberra United v Sydney FC
(McKellar Park, 15:00)
GATES OPEN AT 14:00