Match Day Monday – Semi Finals

 

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You know those songs that go “I’ve felt pain, I’ve felt joy”, that’s what Sunday brought. My soul felt battered and bruised at times, to then go to searing heights. Sleep has the potential to elude me tonight, though maybe not because I’ve been driving a lot and sleeping in weird place, but will be in a proper bed tonight. But you get what I mean yeah. We’ve got grand finalist now, and that was really the full intention of all of this wasn’t it?

To the games. 

 

Melbourne Victory 2 – 4 Perth Glory

My word. Victory didn’t even give me enough time to down my chips and gravy before the gave us the first fire of the match. Barely two minutes in, Nairn down the flank dinks the ball in and it manages to go to the near post, swerving and Campbell is caught by surprise and can’t keep it out of the back of the net. Victory have a goal cushion.

Perth were super slow out of the gates. Again Nairn had control of the midfield like a magician, pulling the strings with some stellar moves. Thing is, Perth worked their way back into the match through their midfield. Don’t ask me how, I’ve bagged out their midfield all season. But legit, they worked hard, were hungry for the ball and were able to shut down the spaces of the Victory midfield, as well as controlled the tempo. I’m a flaming stunned mullet and the Perth midfield resurrected me back to life, because dude, was not expecting that.

This game held the match ups that make me drool. The best were Kerr and Johnson up one end, with Dowie and Naughton down the other. Both duals were utterly beautiful, being an absolute delight to watch! The challenges, the tussles, everything you want in a semi-final. The winner of these tussles though? Has to go to Kerr. Kerr got the hatty, pulled out the flipping celebration, yes that one, and saw Johnson off once the centre back got a red card.

Perth were knocking and knocking, chasing the game with Victory just unable to play with the necessary urgency to walk away with this one. It hurts me to say, but Perth had the Kerr-factor, combine her with Hill and they are a team who rely on that duo as much as KFC rely on their original chicken recipe. In the end, this was the deciding factor. 

For Victory, it was always going to be an uphill battle once Dumont went off at half time with a concussion. Yes it makes me angry that the concussion test wasn’t done when the incident happened. And once the announcement was made at half time, despite my best efforts of “don’t worry dad, you’re ressie keeper is solid”, it was clearVictory really needed another goal as a cushion, because one wasn’t going to be enough. Sure enough, the young keeper had good hands on a few chances, but clearly has an affinity for leaving her line early. That cost Victory. Kerr and co are clever, see a keeper that far away from her line and they will capitalise. Victory really missed Dumont that second half, and then through to extra time.

It’s a long tough match, going to extra time, with just about everything happening in a game of football that could possibly occur, without a penalty given (somehow). It’s super rough seeing a side who is the most well rounded in the competition, clear winners of the premiership, bow out at the hurdle that is the semi-finals. But Perth produced something special in the end despite being caught napping at the first whistle. Simply Perth wanted it more. That’s what’s seeing them go to a grand final. Even if it hurt me and made me go into a bit of a sook after the match.

 

Brisbane Roar 1 – 2 Sydney FC

I’ve barely got my beanie still on after this one. My heart. Your heart. How were we ever going to properly process two W-League semi finals in the same day? Just having them in the same weekend is too much at times. The Roar crowd through my tv set was unreal. Whilst personal bias saw me wanting Sydney to win, the crowd had me second guessing myself at time. I can’t wait to hear your beautiful voices through my tv set once again.

The match hey. This game had the best and worst of football in my book. Some of the play, the passes, use of space and tight spaces, was an absolute delight and what I dream of at night. Other patches of play were gnarly and not well put together, often found in that final pass in the top third. Oh I did enjoy the crunching challenges and key interceptions, of which there were bucket loads of in this match.

There’s a lot to process with this match. Both sides played a press really well, there was some individual genius and some players you’d expect more from. A masterstroke in my book was having Green in left back for Sydney. We’ve been exposed with pace down that flank often this season, seeing Green there really settled my nerves better than knowing I’ve got some dessert for after dinner. Talking of flanks though, Raso was magic. There was a moment late in the match where I was asking why Ubogagu was pulled off and not Raso, as she’d gone MIA. Right from that moment in the last 10 minutes Raso pulls out a massive handful of excellent chances that really ought to have been capitalised.

The difference between these sides? Finishing. Brisbane couldn’t give you a finish for a majority of this game had it whacked them in the face. They probably would’ve said “ah that’s interesting, but no thanks” had that happened. Sydney weren’t necessarily heads and shoulders above in the finishing department, however they got lucky where two moments of defensive lapses in the Roar defence provided Sydney the space and opportunity to score. Given Nagasato with her goal had the best finish of the match. But by then it was just too late for Brisbane to scramble and grab another, as the time left on the clock barely left enough to make up some scrambled eggs.

Would this game had been different had Gorry been available for Brisbane? Yeah, but Brisbane’s season on a whole would’ve been different had she been fit.

So. Here we are. Sydney make it to another grand final. I’m stoked.

 

Now where’s my bed, I need to sleep off some of this semi-final-ness and mayhem. Oh and also, keep your eyes peeled for Wednesday, because I went to the hockey and have a story or two to tell you.

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