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COA News 2024

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Sydney records 1-0 victory over Mariners in ALW semi-final

Sydney FC have moved a step closer to their seventh straight major final after a 1-0 win over Central Coast Mariners in the first leg of the A-League Women’s semi-final.

A cool second-half strike from Mackenzie Hawkesby was all that separated the two sides as Sydney sealed victory in front of 4,014 at the Industree Group Stadium in Gosford on Sunday.

But Ante Juric’s side could be forced to play the second leg without talismanic captain Princess Ibini, who did not return in the second half with a suspected shoulder injury.

The fringe Matildas forward’s potential absence at Leichhardt Oval next Saturday could have a major impact on the Sky Blues’ hopes of reaching the decider.

Still, the pressure will be on the Mariners, who, apart from one mistake from Kyah Simon, were more than Sydney’s match, but must now regain control of the tie.

Sydney threatened from the start as Ibini Cortnee Vine played one-on-one with Casey Dumont.

The Mariners goalkeeper was able to deflect the shot and soon it was her counterpart who was under scrutiny.

Chinese striker Wurigumula forced Jada Whyman into a fingertip save and Sydney’s Margaux Chauvet was on hand to clear Jazmin Wardlow’s effort off the line.

The Sky Blues weathered the storm until half-time, when Ibini finally succumbed to her injury.

Her replacement, Shea Connors, had an immediate impact, breaking the Mariners defense and finding space with ease.

After enduring a sustained five-minute attack, the Mariners breathed a sigh of relief, but Simon lost the ball in transition.

Indiana Dos Santos drove forward and fed an onrushing Hawkesby, who drove past Dumont to give the Sky Blues a 1-0 lead after 54 minutes.

The Mariners refused to give up and came agonizingly close to an equalizer in the final half hour.

Simon blasted one shot over the bar, Biana Galic did the same and Wurigumula hit one well-taken shot at Whyman’s left post.