Canberra United beat favourites Perth Glory to win grand final
Ashleigh Sykes scored two goals within the space of three minutes to lift Canberra United to a shock 3-1 victory over record-setters Perth Glory in the W-League grand final. Star American import Stephanie Ochs unleashed a sweet 20-yard strike to open the scoring for Canberra at Perth Oval on Sunday afternoon, but Glory captain Collette McCallum produced her own 22-yard bullet to level the score in the 63rd minute. But just as Glory appeared set to seize control, Sykes produced a double blow to secure Canberra the title.
Sykes scored her first in the 75th minute when she latched onto a neat lob, shook off defender Shelina Zadorsky, before calmly drilling past the advancing goalkeeper. Then in the 78th, Sykes headed into an empty net to seal the deal and silence the 2,671 crowd. In between Sykes’ two strikes, Canberra goalkeeper Chantel Jones saved a Kate Gill penalty.
The win gave Canberra their second W-League Championship after their success in 2011/12.
Perth Glory entered the match as the hottest of favourites after setting new records for most goals scored (39), most points accumulated (30) and best start to the season (six straight wins) on the way to winning the league premiership. In contrast, Canberra only just scraped into the finals after beating an understrength Perth outfit 2-1 in the final round.
Canberra started the grand final strongly, and would have sealed the win earlier if it was not for the fine work of Glory goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold, who produced two sharp saves in one-on-one situations. Arnold also saved a Grace Gill penalty in stoppage time, but by then the game was already over.
Source courtesy of: www.abc.net.au
Photo courtesy of: Getty Images