Canberra United keep the dream alive

Western United 0-3 Canberra United

By Ryan Miller-Woods (25/3/23).

Above: Chengshu Wu on the ball for Canberra United. Photo: Canberra United.

In what is arguably their most important result of the season, Canberra United have put themselves in a very good position for potential Finals football as they beat top-of-the-table Western United 3-0 with two goals from Vesna Milivojević and Chengshu Wu grabbing the other.

Talk about an instant impact in the first minute of the match for Canberra United, Western United passed the ball around their end and unfortunately, Hillary Beall’s ball out of the box immediately went to Milivojević on the left-hand side of the area. She controlled the ball and then hit a shot into the far corner of the net.

Hannah Keane responded with a very good cross in the box for Emma Robers, but her header went over the bar.

The proceedings were halted in the 19th minute due to Robers having come off worse from her challenge on Ellie Brush. She awkwardly landed in the aftermath of the contact made and as a result, had to be helped off the pitch.

Western United had a decent opportunity to have scored in the 36th minute as Kahli Johnson intercepted the ball from Canberra’s Hayley Taylor-Young. Johnson then played the ball off to Keane who made a run into the box which amounted to a shot on an angle.  Thanks to Brush’s intervention, it went over the bar.

Above: Michelle Heyman (left) in possession at Western United today as she broke the all-time record for A-League Women appearances. Photo: Canberra United.

In stoppage time at the end of the first half, a piece of free-kick magic from Grace Maher was just denied by both the crossbar and the finest of millimeters.

Canberra continued to create, and just before the hour mark came close once more. Milivojević played in Wu. The Chinese star had made a run into the box, cut in, and then had a shot towards goal which was tipped over the bar by Beall.

In the 65th minute, Heyman turned and played a brilliant through ball for Milivojević that allowed her to make a run into the box where she controlled before slotting into the bottom right corner for her and Canberra’s second goal of the match.

Less than 10 minutes later, Sydney Cummings cleared a shot away for the home side, only for it to fall to Wu outside the box who chested the ball down and fire a shot past Beall to put Canberra out of sight.

The win was the icing on the cake for Michelle Heyman who broke the record for all-time appearances in the A-League Women by playing in this match. Her 158th game saw her surpass the previous record holder, Teresa Polias. A great achievement by an all-time great of the competition.

Teams: WESTERN UNITED (4-1-2-1-2): Beall, Beard, Cummings, Cerne, Vlajnić, Sawicki, M. Taranto, Robers, A. Taranto, Keane, Johnson. Substitutes: Dall’Oste, Iermano, Sardo, Papadopoulos, Steer.

CANBERRA UNITED (4-4-1-1): Lincoln, Hughes, Brush, Grove, Wu, Maher, Jale, Taylor-Young, Milivojević, Flannery, Heyman. Substitutes: Richards, Murray, Middleton, McComasky, Faulknor.

Scorers: Milivojevic 1’, 65’. Wu 74’.

Referee: Isabella Blaess

Attendance: 404

Artwork: Charlotte Stacey, founder of On Her Side.

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