So much about the W-League is different this season, but there is at least one thing that hasn’t changed and probably won. ‘In a nutshell: Sydney FC’s dominance over their rivals in the city.
The Sky Blues began their campaign on Wednesday with a breezy 3-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers, their 14th. Derby win from 17 games and a clear indication that the multi-year challengers of the competition will be back up there.
Two aspiring Matildas players, Cortnee Vine and Princess Ibini, provided the targets – fitting as this season will likely be determined by the appearance of young guns like her.
Ibini’s first goal with a terrific brace will be hard to beat. A cawing drive from outside the box broke Western Sydney’s hopes as they appeared to gain a foothold early in the second half. Her overall performance in attack should attract the attention of new Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson, who will take on his role in the coming days.
« I talked to Prinny [Ibini] a bit. She has to deliver. I think she will notice, « said Sydney coach Ante Juric.
« She’s no longer 18, 17. She has to be the person who shows up . . . If she plays well for us, she’ll go to the Matildas and possibly World Championships and Olympics.
« She knows what is at stake for her. She got up today, was mature, did the right things, worked hard defensively – I can’t be happier. I hope it goes on. It is your time now. «
It was difficult to judge how this W-League campaign will play out. Each squad has been plagued by an exodus of Australian internationals to European clubs and a shortage of foreigners due to coronavirus travel restrictions.
In fact, at Bankwest Stadium there wasn’t a single Visa player on the team sheet for either side, and only a handful of players capped for Australia at senior level.
For Western Sydney in particular, sales were detrimental. Driven by a spate of high-profile American imports – including US national team striker Lynn Williams and Julie Dolan medalist Kristen Hamilton – only one member of her starting XI, Courtney Nevin, played in last season’s opening game.
Vine did too, but since then she has swapped red and black for blue. In the 27th. In the 18th minute, she rushed to give Sydney FC a well-deserved lead. The pace and the clever combination game of the team brought the hosts in knots. The Wanderers had tried to lead from a goal kick but coughed the ball in a dangerous area. Within seconds of the turnover, Young Matilda’s striker Remy Siemsen had picked up Vine for an easy finish.
Siemsen’s assistant made up for the fact that two minutes earlier she hadn’t implemented a golden chance from close range. Vine’s Dink over the top of Western Sydney’s defense brought Siemsen through one on one, but from a tight angle she tried instead of walking around Courtney Newbon and her shot hit the crossbar.
Siemsen probably should have had another one from another Vine pass at the start of the game, but she made her destination right in Newbon.
The Wanderers resumed the second stanza in promising fashion, but Ibini’s full hour long-range missile stopped them in their tracks.
Ibini scored in the 86. Minute again, grabbed a through pass from substitute Allira Toby and pushed him into the upper left corner. That goal not only sealed the three points, but also completed an exciting, dynamic single display in the attack of a player who seems ready to take the next step.
Western Sydney only has two days to prepare for the next game on Saturday night against the Newcastle Jets. Both Georgia Yeoman-Dale (knee) and Leena Khamis (eye) are in doubt after being withdrawn at half time due to minor injuries.
« Everyone is disappointed because we all know we were so much better than that this preseason, » said coach Dean Heffernan.
« We didn’t have a W-League opponent to play against in the friendly matches, but we were just better with the ball in most areas of the game. « . Losing a soccer game like this is not a good way, but it’s also a good thing in some ways because we have so much more inside us than what we showed off tonight. «
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Western Sydney Wanderers FC, A-League, W-League, Princess Ibini-Isei, Bernie Ibini-Isei, Australian women’s national football team
World news – AU – ‘It’s her time now’ : Ibini uses Matilda’s claim as a Sydney FC cruise to win the Derby
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