On loan Thorns FC players Hayley Raso and Celeste Boureille helped Brisbane Roar FC wrap up the regular season Sunday afternoon with a 4-1 victory over Ashleigh Sykes' Canberra United, securing the W-League's 2017-18 Premiership, their third in club history.
Raso opened the game with a scrappy 11th-minute goal in which the 23-year-old took advantage of a mishandled ball on the six-yard box line. A set-piece serve dropped into the heart of the box where Toni Pressley awaited the ball free from pressure. However, instead of settling the cross, the Canberra defender misdirected the ball toward goal where Raso knocked in an off-balanced one-timer from point-blank range. The goal marked Raso's fourth of the year.
Boureille created a pair of chances in her 90+ minutes of work, taking a shot and laying off 49 passes at 77.6 percent accuracy through the match. Sykes, who along with her club saw her playoff hopes dashed in the 4-1 loss, took a shot, created a chance and connected for 31 passes in the game.
Keep them coming 🦁🌹 pic.twitter.com/FjkKMw2Wq3— Hayley Raso (@HayleyRaso) February 4, 2018
Thirty minutes prior to Brisbane's kickoff, Sydney FC jumped into action in New South Wales to take on the Western Sydney Wanderers with Premiership aspirations of their own. A win and a Roar loss would have allowed the Sky Blues to clinch as W-League Premiers, but despite a dominant 4-1 win over the Wanderers, Sydney fell just short of the season title with the Roar securing a victory of their own.
Emily Sonnett and Caitlin Foord were each named to the Sydney starting XI and put in a full 90 for the Sky Blues, while Foord found the back of the net in the 32nd minute. The goal, coming on a pass from Lisa DeVanna, would mark the second of three goals scored by Sydney FC before the half.
31' GOALLLLLLLLLL!!!!! @CaitlinFoord doubles the lead! @lisadevanna11 is picked out by a neat switch ball and she slides a pass into the path of Foord in the area who sidefoots home! 2-0 #SydneyIsSkyBlue #SydneyDerby pic.twitter.com/BmbPr5se9P— Sydney FC (@SydneyFC) February 4, 2018
On Saturday, Britt Eckerstrom and the Newcastle Jets hosted Melbourne City FC at McDonald Jones Stadium for an evening matchup. Eckerstrom earned the start in goal and played a full 90, though the Jets lost 3-0 to Melbourne.
With the regular season wrapped up, the Westfield W-League 2018 Finals Series fixtures are now set. Foord, Sonnett and Sydney FC will face off with Eckerstrom and her Newcastle Jets Saturday for the first of two semifinals next weekend. The game will mark the teams' first meeting since their 2-2 draw in early January.
On Sunday, Boureille, Raso and the Roar will take on Melbourne City, who they played to a scoreless draw at AAMI Park just two weeks ago. The winners of each semi will meet in the Grand Final on Sunday, February 18.