Sydney FC to meet Victory in W-L decider

Minor premiers Sydney FC have charged to a 3-0 home W-League semi-final win over Canberra United to book a fourth straight grand final appearance.

ANTE JURIC.
ANTE JURIC. Picture: Will Russell/Getty Images

A ruthless Sydney FC rallied after a slow start to qualify for a fourth-straight W-League grand final with a 3-0 semi-final win over Canberra United at Netstrata Jubilee Oval on Sunday.

They will host Melbourne Victory in next Sunday's season decider at the same venue.

Victory, who booked their grand final spot with a 6-2 away win over Brisbane on Saturday, played Sydney only once in the regular season, losing 2-1 to the Sky Blues last Wednesday.

Canberra had over 60 per cent of possession and four more shots and looked more threatening early in Sunday's semi-final, but lacked the cutting edge displayed by the minor premiers.

Sydney opened the scoring in the 15th minute through midfielder Mackenzie Hawkesby's sweet sidefoot volley from six metres from a fine left-wing cross by Clare Wheeler.

Midfielder Wheeler doubled Sydney's lead in the 64th minute when her strong volley from the edge of the box from a Charlotte Mclean cross deflected off a defender.

But the highlight came in the 73rd minute when defender Ally Green charged forward and blasted a superb shot from outside the area for her first W-League goal.

"I probably didn't want her to shoot," admitted Sydney coach Ante Juric, who has been in charge for each of the last four seasons.

Juric wasn't worried by his team's lethargic start.

"It was quite hot and humid and we played on Wednesday, so I knew why we were a little bit down," he said.

"But I was hoping later they would kick in a little and they did, the (first) goal helped.

"I wasn't happy ( at halftime). I told them they were defending superbly but all the workrate was in defence, so if you want to keep the ball you've got to work in attack.

"They did pick it up and also I think it cooled down a little bit, but the girls' spirit is immense and I knew they would come back and do a job."

United's best chance came after 38 minutes, when Nickoletta Flannery almost capitalised on a defensive error by Sydney, but Jada Whyman made a crucial close-range save.

"We definitely dominated the play. I think we struggled to get some shots on goal, we had a few crosses, a few opportunities," Canberra captain Kendall Fletcher said.

Canberra's hopes of a win were dealt a blow with top-scorer Michelle Heyman ruled out by a quadriceps injury.

"I think maybe in the final third we didn't have the firepower necessary we needed, so you miss a player like Michelle Heyman, but I think we play as a team more than anything," Fletcher said.

Sydney and Victory have met in one previous grand final, the Sky Blues winning 3-1 in 2013.

Sydney have won three titles from seven grand finals and Victory one from two.