Sydney leave it late to beat Perth, go top of ALW


Sydney FC have taken a massive step towards winning a third straight A-League Women Premiers Plate with 15-year-old Indiana Dos Santos among their goalscorers in a 4-2 home win over Perth Glory at Netstrata Jubilee Oval.

The win lifted the Sky Blues one point above Western United into top spot heading into this weekend’s final round.

“We always go out to win regardless,” Sydney coach Ante Juric told AAP.

Wednesday night’s result dealt a massive blow to the finals hopes of sixth-placed Perth, who need to win their last match away to Brisbane Roar and hope Melbourne Victory and Canberra United both lose, with goal difference also a factor.

“If it happens, it’s fantastic, we’re going to out and play against Brisbane on Saturday and put on a performance that’s reflective of what we want it to be, regardless of the other external matches and the results they bring,” Glory coach Alex Epakis said.

Sydney had 36 shots to five, but plucky Perth twice came from behind in a thrilling encounter.

American Madison Haley scored Sydney’s crucial third goal, and her eighth of the campaign, when she volleyed into the roof of the net from close range in the 75th minute following a cross from the outstanding Cortnee Vine.

Princess Ibini erased any doubts about the outcome, stroking the ball home the 89th after another cross from the tireless Vine.

Earlier, teenager Dos Santos became the fifth-youngest goalscorer in ALW history with her 25th-minute strike after the ball was flicked to her by Rachel Lowe following a strong run and cut back from Vine.

“I just couldn’t believe it, I was going to start crying, but I just had to focus on the game,” Dos Santos told AAP after just her second ALW start.

Asked about Dos Santos, Juric said “she deserves her chance and she’s taken it with both hands at the moment, she’s unbelievable for 15.”

It took Perth 44 minutes to get their first touch in the Sydney penalty area, but when they finally did they made it count.

Hana Lowry was fouled by Sarah Hunter and Alana Jancevski sent Jada Whyman the wrong way from the penalty spot.

Vine restored Sydney’s lead in the second minute of first-half added time, driving the ball home after skipping between two defenders.

“We got that goal against the run of play to bring it to one-all and I thought we would be very lucky to go in at halftime with that scoreline,” Epakis told AAP.

“But we did have it and we just gave it away very quickly after which was a little bit disappointing, but it’s a learning moment for the group.”

Epakis brought on American forwards Cyera Hintzen and Gabriella Coleman for the second half and they gave Glory more of an attacking presence.

Perth goalkeeper Morgan Aquino made good saves to thwart Ibini and Dos Santos, but Lowry and Sadie Lawrence both went close within a matter of seconds.

Glory drew level at 2-2 in the 58th minute when a cross from Hannah Lane wasn’t held by Whyman and Coleman headed in from close range.


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