Pollicina the Queen of Queanbeyan as City see off Canberra

Canberra United 0-4 Melbourne City

by Ryan Miller-Woods (23/12/22)

Above: Rhianna Pollicina celebrates her second goal against Canberra United in Queanbeyan. Photo: Melbourne City.

Melbourne City produced a hugely convincing performance in bouncing back from their first defeat of the season last week with a 4-0 victory over Canberra United at Seiffert Oval in Queanbeyan.

Memories of that loss against Western United in the battle of the top two at the weekend were eased thanks to a brace by Rhianna Pollicina plus further strikes from Cote Rojas and Daniela Galic. This result put Melbourne City at equal top of the A-League Women’s table with Western United and Adelaide United.

City were on the front foot and fashioned the first scoring opportunity in the 6th minute as Rhianna Pollicina had a great chance to open the scoring for City as her shot from inside the box just went onto the roof of the net.

Pollicina was involved again when Leticia McKenna’s dangerous pass into the box found the attacker and her shot was blocked by Canberra defender Emma Ilijoski and subsequently out for a City corner in the 17th minute.

Canberra responded with two chances of their own. Nikki Flannery was played in only for Katie Bowen and Sally James to stop her as the shot from outside the box went wide. Five minutes later, Michelle Heyman’s header from a corner was brilliantly saved by James.

But the home side would rue these missed chances as Pollicina finally got the goal she had been threatening. Just before the half-hour mark, she was found by Naomi Chinnama and put in a first-time shot which went past goalkeeper Keeley Richards for the opening goal of the match.

Heyman saw another opportunity narrowly miss ten minutes before the break. From a Madison McComasky through ball, Grace Jale made a great run and outmuscled Julia Grosso outside of the box, before guiding the ball into the box for the on-rushing Heyman to shoot agonisingly over the bar.

It was Pollicina who had the last chance to double City’s lead for the half when she was only denied from scoring by Richards who was able to tip the ball over the bar.

Before the start of the second half, Ellie Brush was subbed on for Canberra as she replaced Kennedy Faulknor. For Brush, this was her first appearance in a match since February 2021 after two ACL injuries during her time at Sydney FC that curtailed her playing in the A-League Women.

Above: Cote Rojas (right) celebrates with Daniela Galic as the pair both found the net in the second half. Photo: Melbourne City.

The visitors did double their advantage ten minutes into the second stanza as she found Bryleeh Henry in the box who slipped which incidentally also forced Grace Maher to trip over her. Pollicina then ran onto the ball with her first-time shot going past Richards and into the bottom left corner.

Any realistic hope of a Canberra comeback was snuffed out with 68 minutes played. Chelsea Blissett saw off Sasha Grove in the box and found Leah Davidson who in turn directed the ball towards Daniela Galic. The 16-year-old slotted a clever through ball to Rojas back in the box, and the Chilean international’s first-time shot went into the back of the net.

Heyman had one final chance for some form of consolation for the home side when she was fed by Vesna Milivojevic but the ball went wide of the goal.

City underlined their ruthless ability to convert chances with two minutes remaining. Galic and Emina Ekic combined in the box and the move concluded with Galic steering a shot into the top left corner for her first goal in the A-League Women.

Melbourne City’s busy period continues with a home game against Perth Glory on 27th December. Canberra travel to Melbourne to face Victory on New Year’s Eve.

Teams: CANBERRA UNITED (4-1-4-1): Richards, Ilijoski, Hughes, Grove, Maher, Jale, McComasky, Faulknor, Milivojevic, Flannery, Heyman. Substitutes: Roach, Brush, Taylor-Young, Christopherson, Lincoln.

MELBOURNE CITY (4-3-3): James, Torpey, Chinnama, Bowen, Grosso, Blissett, Davidson, McKenna, Pollicina, Henry, Rojas. Substitutes: Barbieri, Accardo, Ekic, Galic, Karic.

Scorers: Pollicina 28’, 55’.Rojas 69’, Galic 88’.

Referee: Georgia Ghirardello.

Attendance: 1,009.

Above: Rhianna Pollicina’s performance was an early Christmas present for City fans. Photo: Melbourne City.

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