Why Canberra United can break City’s unbeaten streak

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For the second time this year Canberra United will face off against defending champions Melbourne City and it could be momentous for a number of reasons.

The most obvious is the prospect of City’s unbeaten record of 16 matches coming to an end.

Canberra had a golden opportunity a month ago to do just that but failed to overthrow the current League champions in a match Canberra easily dominated statistically.

Further shining the spotlight onto this particular fixture is the very real possibility that this won’t be the last time we see it this season.

If there are any players that could spell defeat for City then it is Michelle Heyman and Ashleigh Sykes.

The Matildas duo already have three goals between them this campaign and are a handful for any W-League defence.

While neither were able to get on the scoresheet in their previous fixture, both are big game players and it would take a brave soul to bet against them finding their way onto the scoresheet come Saturday.

Indeed it was only a month ago that Melbourne triumphed 2-1 over a Canberra side that should have at least come away with a point from GIO Stadium.

United managed 14 shots on target and if not for a world-class performance from City goalkeeper Lydia Williams would have won the game.

Coach Rae Dower echoed that sentiment during the week, pointing to her side’s enthusiasm at getting another shot at the W-League’s “Invincibles”.

“The girls are really excited because they know that they probably missed out on an opportunity the first round,” she said on Thursday.

“We’re going to go down there, we’re going to play our style of football and hopefully convert more chances than the opponent.”

Canberra would have made headlines if they had managed to defeat the champions first up but have instead largely flown under the radar despite some impressive results.

A gritty 1-0 victory over Brisbane Roar in Brisbane and a 5-2 thumping of Newcastle Jets was followed by a last-minute draw against Adelaide United away from home.

While these results haven’t put United on top of the table they have proven that they can dig in when required, a quality that could prove vital at the C.B. Smith Reserve this weekend.

With a combination of coach, team and history suggesting United can spring an upset this weekend, we could well see the end of one of Australian sport’s greatest ever unbeaten runs.

Regardless of the result, it’s shaping up as an instant classic and potentially a grand final preview.

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