W-League | City through to decider after overtime thriller against Canberra

Melbourne City have qualified for a second straight grand final after overcoming Canberra United 1-0 in extra time at GIO Stadium.

A 107th minute Jess Fishlock strike was enough to send the defending champions through to face Perth Glory after the two sides battled in hot and humid conditions.

Both teams were switched on from the kick-off with a number of half chances presenting themselves.

The home side were the first to get an attempt on target, Emma Checker’s header off a free kick requiring a nervy clearance to keep scores level.

The scare seemed to embolden City as they searched for the breakthrough.

Both Jess Fishlock and Erika Tymrak came close, the latter’s effort slamming off the crossbar and out to safety.

Canberra had a few chances of their own, Yukari Kinga almost becoming an overnight sensation with a long range effort that flew just wide.

Hayley Raso was having a field day out on the left wing, constantly testing City’s backline with some teasing crosses.

Neither side were able to make the breakthrough, however, and the second half began with tensions running high.

Perhaps the gravity of the next 45 was weighing down on both teams as the chances dried up.

No doubt the heat was having an effect and aside from a curling effort from Stephanie Ochs the crowd were confined to their seats.

Seeking a way to reinvigorate her side, Rae Dower brought Lisa De Vanna on to face her former club.

Despite looking dangerous, the Matildas veteran was unable to find the back of net and the full-time whistle blew with the score unchanged from the kick-off.

Extra time picked up where the match had left off, Canberra moving the ball into dangerous areas but failing to pick the final pass.

City seemed comfortable to take the game to penalties but almost broke through when Fishlock drew a brilliant save from Trudy Burke.

The Canberra No.1 just got fingertips to the shot, re-directing it onto the frame of the goal and out of play.

The definitive moment finally came in the 107th minute as Fishlock stepped up to put her side in command.

Off a corner the ball spilled out to the City striker who drove a controlled strike past Burke.

The home side pushed but were unable to to find the elusive goal that would save their season.

A tough pill for United to swallow after such a successful campaign but City showed their experience to set up a chance to go back-to-back.

Melbourne City 1 (Fishlock 107′)
Canberra United 0

Venue: GIO Stadium
Attendance: 5072

Referee: Rebecca Durcau
Assistants: Sarah Ho and Nia Southwell
Fourth Official: Rachael Mitchenson

Canberra United: 1. BURKE Trudy (GK), 2. KINGA Yukari, 5. MCCORMICK Jenna (19. FLANNERY Nickoletta 108′), 8. RASO Hayley, 9. SPENCER Jasmyne (32. DE VANNA Lisa 79′), 10. MAHER Grace (7. BRUSH Ellie 79′), 12. BREWER Hannah, 13. BOUREILLE Celeste 14. SYKES Ashleigh (C), 15. CHECKER Emma, 22. OCHS Stephanie

Substitutes: 7. BRUSH Ellie, 18. HOGG Khalia, 19. FLANNERY Nickoletta, 20. BORIC Georgia (GK), 32. DE VANNA Lisa

Melbourne City: 1.WILLIAMS Lydia (GK), 2. ALLEN Teigen, 3. BARNES Lauren, 5. ALLEWAY Laura, 6. LUIK Aivi, 7. CATLEY Stephanie (C), 10. FISHLOCK Jessica, 11. TYMRACK Erika (15. JACKSON Amy 71′), 13. STOTT Rebekah, 16. GOEBEL Beverly, 17. TABAIN Marianna (14. AYRES Melina 120+1′)

Substitutes: 14. AYRES Melina, 15. JACKSON Amy, 19. VLAJNIC Tyla Jay, 20. SHIELDS Emily (GK)

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Third year Sports Media student at the University of Canberra. Interests include sports history and stats...you know, all the fun stuff.