Canberra United will continue their pursuit of a top-four place and potential finals football when they make the trip to Wanderers Football Park on Sunday and the return fixture with Western Sydney Wanderers.
Having defeated the Wanderers in late February at McKellar Park, one of four victories in succession for Njegosh Popovich and his vibrant and exciting young side, confidence will be high that the two-times Grand Final winners can complete the double over the Red and Blacks and maintain that push for the play-offs.
Even given the off-field distractions of the past week, the deduction of points by the A-Leagues and the subsequent appeal process, Canberra have not let their heads drop and were in scintillating attacking form against Adelaide United in Round 16.
Canberra have won the last three matches against Western Sydney, scoring eleven goals in the process, and conceding none and, in that four-match unbeaten run, their best for seven seasons, have scored twelve goals.
Michelle Heyman has been at the forefront of this goal-fest, netting seven in four games herself to move onto a dozen for the season, a share of the Golden Boot lead at present, and only half-a-dozen shy of the magical century mark, an achievement that seems well within the grasp of this glorious goal-hunter.
Wanderers have only ever beaten Canberra twice in fourteen matches in the Liberty A-League, and have picked up just four points from a possible eighteen at home against United, but come into the match off a point gained from a determined display against a Perth Glory side themselves hoping to be present in the end of season jamboree.
Canberra will once more be shorn of goalkeeper Chloe Lincoln and full-back Sasha Grove, the latter who scored a superbly taken goal against Wanderers last time out, the pair representing Australia at the 2024 AFC U20 Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Last week, Popovich was pleased with the teams attacking intent against the Lady Reds of Adelaide United, the team bagging four goals and perhaps unfortunate not to add to that tally with Nickoletta Flannery and Laura Hughes both going close to adding to the goals for column.
A further reminder to the Liberty A-League of United’s goalscoring prowess would not go amiss this weekend as the team head into the final furlong of a long campaign. The Wanderers will no doubt provide a stern examination on their own turf, but Canberra need only look back at last year’s incredible 5-0 victory at this venue for inspiration.
Sunday 12 March 2023
Western Sydney Wanderers v Canberra United
(Wanderers Football Park, 16:00)
Live streamed on 10Play and Paramount+