Canberra United snatched the W-League premiership from Sydney FC’s grasp on the final day of the season with a dramatic 2-1 over the champions.
The Sky Blues had led for most of the season and needed just a draw to hold on to top spot but Canberra’s American forward Stephanie Ochs rifled home a stunning winner on the hour mark at the Sydney United Sports Centre.
Sam Kerr had drawn the Sky Blues level midway through the first half with a textbook header from a pinpoint Ellyse Perry cross, with the dual international playing her first match in a month following cricket commitments for the national team.
Most of the focus was on Canberra’s opener with the visitors benefiting from a dubious penalty awarded to the dismay of Sydney FC’s players, despite goalkeeper Casey Dumont seemingly making clean contact with the ball.
Sydney FC will host Melbourne Victory next Sunday in a repeat of last year’s grand final, while Canberra will welcome Brisbane Roar to the nation’s capital on Saturday.
“All the girls were pumped up for today and we knew, if we got the win, we could control our destiny for a home semi and grand final,” said United striker Michelle Heyman.
“It was a high intensity match. It is always really tough to play against Sydney who always play such a quick game.”
Brisbane edged a 1-0 win over the Victory but fell well short of the four-goal win they required to tip their opponents out of third place on goal difference.
Meanwhile, the Newcastle Jets avoided the ignominy of going through the entire season without a point as Gema Simon nabbed a dramatic injury-time equaliser against Adelaide United.
The youthful Jets suffered an early setback as United skipper Kristy Moore netted a first-half double, with Hannah Beard pulling a goal back for the Jets to set up the late drama.
Matildas captain Kate Gill finished a challenging illness-hit season on a high with her double enough for Perth Glory to prevail 2-1 over Western Sydney Wanderers and finish in fifth.