W-League semi-finals: A season of surprises reaches the business end

W-League semi-finals: A season of surprises reaches the business end

The top four teams in Australia this season battle it out over the weekend to determine who will be in the finals, and eventually, the new W-League Champion.

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Kudzi Musarurwa

After a season that saw upsets and goals galore, the Westfield W-League has reached the playoffs and four teams will be looking to book their place in the Grand Final just over a week from now. Canberra United FCPerth Glory FCSydney FC and Melbourne City FC are the last teams standing after twelve games and will be sure to give fans two entertaining and enthralling matches when they face each other.

The battle of the coasts is up first

Perth welcome Sydney to the west coast of Australia for the first semi final of the weekend. After finishing second in the league and ending their season with a solid 1-0 over Western Sydney Wanderers, the Western Australia based side will look to talented forward Sam Kerr to lead them to a W-League final. At the back, defender Arianna Romero has also had a stellar season for Perth and will be called upon again to keep Sydney's attack quiet as much as possible.

For Sydney, the key players will be Caitlin Foord and Kyah Simon. The Australian internationals have had relatively quiet seasons for their abilities but can explode at any moment and cause their opponents trouble when they can. What will most certainly be in the back of the Sydney fans' minds is their recent 5-2 loss to Adelaide United FC. If Sydney's backline does not recover sufficiently enough from that, someone like Kerr will have another monster game and lead Perth to the final.

Prediction

Perth have too much firepower to be slowed down by Sydney and although Sydney themselves are not bereft of their own attacking prowess, they probably will not be able to keep up with the likes of Kerr if she is on her A-game.

Perth Glory 2-0 Sydney FC

Melbourne look to repeat as they face Canberra

Canberra have been the pick of the teams in the W-League this season and they will host Melbourne City in the second semi final as they look to end their season on a high after topping the table in the regular season. In Ashleigh Sykes, Canberra has the top goal scorer in the league, with twelve goals to her name, and they will need her to be at her very best if they wish to progress to the final. Grace Maher has also been excellent for Canberra this season and tops the assists charts with seven this season. Between Sykes and Maher, Canberra have every chance of scoring enough goals to see them through.

Last year's champions, Melbourne City, have had a less spectacular season this time around. Not only were results not going the way the club wanted but halfway through the season, head coach Jo Montemurro then took up a position with the men's team and Jess Fishlock became a player-manager for the rest of the season. Fishlock guided City to a fourth place finish and will now look to lead her team to another final, their second in a row.

Goals have been hard to come by for City but their defense has been the best in the league with only 14 goals conceded. At the heart of that defense has been the performances of defender Laura Alleway and goalkeeper Lydia Williams who have kept City in games that they could have easily lost. Those two will need to produce another big performance against Canberra on Saturday if City want to make the final.

Prediction

It will be a tight game between these two teams, as it has been during the season. Canberra's attack is very good but City's defense is probably one of the few backlines in the league that can keep up with Canberra. This game will probably be decided by a moment of magic from one player on either team and they quite possibly could go on to be this year's champions as well.

Canberra 2-1 Melbourne City

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