Sydney spurn chance to top ALW, Victory, Mariners draw

    Sydney FC have blown a golden chance to go top in the A-League Women, having a penalty saved in a 0-0 draw with leaders Melbourne City.

    Elsewhere on Saturday, striker Emily Gielnik responded to being overlooked for the Matildas’ Olympic qualifiers against Uzbekistan with a brilliant equaliser as Melbourne Victory drew 1-1 with Central Coast.

    Sydney’s day got off to a rough start when their bus travelled to Bundoora instead of Casey Fields, forcing a quick turnaround and the game to be delayed by half an hour.

    It didn’t seem to slow down the Sky Blues, who had 19 shots (eight on target) to City’s three (zero), albeit without reward.

    Princess Ibini came closest to scoring in the first half when, just after the half-hour mark, she brilliantly turned on the ball but just curled her strike onto the post.

    Then, Ibini had the chance to give Sydney the lead from the penalty spot in the 57th minute but her spot-kick lacked power and Melissa Barbieri comfortably claimed it.

    City remain on top on 30 points, with Sydney (27 points) second.

    Gielnik earned fifth-placed Victory a share of the points with her 66th-minute screamer at Industree Group Stadium.

    Dashing forward after a sleek pass from Jamilla Rankin, Gielnik rocketed the ball into the back corner from just outside the penalty arc.

    The 31-year-old had a chance to level scores in the first half from a free kick after a handball foul from Mariners midfielder Isabel Gomez in the 38th minute.

    Gielnik instead smashed the ball straight into the face of Ash Irwin.

    The defender spent a minute on the ground before returning to the fray.

    Desperate to slip into the top six, the seventh-placed Mariners wasted no time with a goal just six minutes after the opening whistle.

    Receiving a cross from Annabel Martin in the box, Peta Trimis easily netted when Rankin mistimed her run and left the Young Matilda untagged.

    The 17-year-old could have notched a first-half brace just three minutes later but she sent the ball too high.

    Central Coast’s Matildas striker Kyah Simon came off the bench in the 65th minute and fell short of producing a goal to upstage Gielnek’s equaliser.

    Simon announced her entrance with an attempt just outside the box but hit the crossbar in the 71st minute.

    The former Tottenham player continued to pepper the goal, with a long-range effort in the 84th minute dropping onto the roof of the net.

    Both teams spurned late chances and were forced to share the spoils.

    Later on Saturday night, Perth twice responded to goals from recently-recalled Matildas striker Michelle Heyman to draw 2-2 with Canberra United.

    Nicki Flannery teed up Heyman to open the scoring in the ninth minute but Susan Phonsongham curled a shot into the bottom corner to equalise in the 36th minute.

    Heyman buried a shot off the underside of the crossbar eight minutes later to restore last-placed Canberra’s lead.

    But Isobel Dalton smacked a long-range strike into the top corner in the 92nd minute to earn Perth a share of the points.

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