Two Greek Australians will feature in W-League semi-finals being staged in Melbourne this weekend to determine the grand finalists for season 2019-20.
Teresa Polias and Angelique Hristodoulou will play in this Saturday’s first semi-final at Epping Stadium for Sydney FC in their match against Melbourne Victory, whilst on Sunday, this season’s minor premiers Melbourne City take on Western Sydney Wanderers in the other semi-final at ABD stadium in Broadmeadows.
Old rivals Victory and Sydney FC have met twice this season with a win apiece, Sydney winning 3-0 in the opening round of the season whilst Victory won their recent final round clash 3-1 to pip Sydney to a second spot finish on the table.
Sydney’s evergreen skipper Teresa Polias is the cog in the Sydney FC midfield whilst Matilda Alanna Kennedy leads the second best defence in the W-League supported by Ellie Brush, Natalie Tobin and right back Hristodoulou. They’ll be tested by the league’s second most prolific goal scoring team, led by centre forward Natasha Dowie and ably supported by former South Melbourne star Melina Ayres and American import, midfielder Darian Jenkins.
Sydney has a potent attacking weapon of its own in Remy Siemsen.
Whilst Saturday’s semi appears evenly poised, Sunday’s second semi-final, will see undefeated minor premiers Melbourne City start as overwhelming favourites against the Wanderers, on the back of a remarkable run of 11 straight wins. The Wanderers, coached by Dan Heffernan, have done remarkably well to rise from a bottom of the league finish last season, to their first ever finals berth this season. American imports , striker Kristen Hamilton and keeper Abby Smith have been major factors in that ascent. Centre backs Staab and Alex Huynh have provided a solid central defensive pairing. But notwithstanding their achievements, the Wanderers couldn’t have asked for a bigger challenge in their first ever W-League finals appearance.
Melbourne City boasts none other than six Matildas players including keeper Lydia Williams, full backs Steph Catley and Ellie Carpenter and offensive players Emily Van Egmond, Kyah Simon and Aivi Luik. Ominously, the team has conceded just four goals all season and kept eight clean score sheets in their 12 matches, including the last meeting between the two teams this season, less than a month ago which finished 4-0 in City’s favour.
History is on City’s side too, having won each of the three semi-finals matches they’ve played in the last four seasons. They’ve also gone on to win the grand-final following each of the semi-finals win.
Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC
Saturday, 14 March, KO: 2.00 pm. Venue: Epping Stadium, Epping
Melbourne City v Western Sydney Wanderers
Sunday, 15 March 2020, Kick off: 1.30pm ,Venue: ABD Stadium, Broadmeadows