Sunday, January 20, 2013
Victory to face Sydney FC in W-League GF
By Peter Smith
Melbourne Victory defied in-form Perth Glory and sapping 35 degree heat to edge into their maiden W-League grand final with a penalty shoot-out win after a host of contentious refereeing decisions.Goalkeeper Brianna Davey was the hero for the Victory at Perth's nib Stadium, saving spot-kicks from Aivi Luik and Rosie Sutton to set up a meeting against Sydney FC next Sunday in Melbourne.After exchanging second-half goals the two teams remained deadlocked following 120 minutes of energy-draining action, before Melbourne prevailed 4-3 on penalties.Jessica McDonald fired home the winning penalty but only after referee Katie Patterson surprisingly ordered a re-take deciding that Glory goalkeeper Kaitlyn Savage had moved off her line early.The other contentious decision came during the second half of regular time, Glory skipper Collette McCallum equalised with a free-kick awarded despite Victory defender Maika Ruyter-Hooley clearly making a clean challenge on Lisa De Vanna.Perth had dominated periods of the first half but missed several opportunities to score, with star striker De Vanna the main culprit.The Matildas attacker enjoyed several sights of goal on her return from a two-match suspension and most notably spooned an effort over from close range.The Victory came back into the contest as the match wore on, with American striker McDonald and captain Stephanie Catley both constant threats.Victory took the lead seven minutes into the second half as Catley's incisive cross was swept home by Laura Spiranovic at the back post.The home side restored parity within five minutes thanks to a sumptuous strike from the edge of the penalty area by McCallum following the controversially awarded free-kick.Chances at both ends continued throughout extra time with Glory failing to convert several clear goalscoring opportunities in their first-ever finals match.Perth coach Jamie Harnwell blasted the referee over the twice-taken penalty that decided the match."Every keeper at some stage moves off their line, and to make that decision... that is the one we are going to take a stand on and that is just poor referring for me," he said."I am extremely disappointed with the final result."We should have won it in normal time and even in extra time but the end of the day I'm really proud of the girls' efforts, not just today, but over the whole season."Melbourne striker McDonald said her team's resolve helped them prevail."It really came down to the wire and our fight came out and helped us come out on top," she said."It (the controversial free-kick) was devastating but you can't change those things so you just have to battle on, and credit for the strike which was amazing."