Belconnen United 2 (Caitlin Munoz 3’, Karen Clarke 60’) def. Canberra FC 0
By Tom Falco
The Belconnen United juggernaut is rolling mercilessly towards more silverware after a 2-0 win against Canberra FC in Saturday’s NPLW qualifying final at the AIS.
The win sees the Blue Devils into their ninth straight Grand Final, and one step closer to capturing yet another treble, having already secured the Premiership and Federation Cup this season.
Antoni Jagarinec’s side wasted little time asserting control on the game with midfielder Caitlin Munoz opening the scoring in just the third minute. A perfectly weighted through ball from teammate Bronte Pyke found Munoz inside the penalty area, and the latter easily guided the ball past a stranded Nat Vasta in goals.
Canberra FC star Grace Gill came close to finding an equaliser midway through the first-half, but saw her spectacular 30-yard strike punched over the bar by Belconnen goalkeeper Sally James.
However Deakin’s best chance at drawing level came through Melissa Bunker who, after a defensive error by Belconnen, saw her scuffed shot roll wide of an empty Blue Devils net.
Canberra FC continued to have the better of the first-half chances but were unable to find an equaliser, and determined defending from their back four saw them head into the break optimistic of causing an upset.
But any hope of a comeback was dashed in the 60th minute when Karen Clarke put the result beyond doubt, sending a magnificent strike into the top corner from 25 yards out.
The result means Belconnen United are straight through to the Grand Final and sets up a rousing clash between Canberra FC and Canberra United Academy for the other spot in the decider.
Canberra United Academy 4 (Hayley Taylor-Young 13’, 53’, Sasha Grove 17’, 48’) def. Gungahlin United 2 (Rachael Corbett 25’, Ruby Gambale 90+3’)
A double apiece for Hayley Taylor-Young and Sasha Grove led the Canberra United Academy to a 4-2 victory over Gungahlin United in the elimination final on Saturday.
Junior Matilda Mia McGovern made her presence felt early, delivering a perfect ball to Taylor-Young who one-timed her shot into the back of the net to make it 1-0.
Grove extended the Academy’s lead shortly after, as she brought a lofted ball to ground, out muscled two defenders and then slid a shot past Kailey Tonini in goals.
Gungahlin settled into the match though, and Rachael Corbett halved the margin in the 25th minute with a long range effort that found the top corner.
But the Academy broke the game open just after half-time, as both Grove and Taylor-Young scored in quick succession to give their side a 4-1 lead.
Ruby Gambale struck deep into stoppage time to make it 4-2, but it was all too little too late for Gungahlin.
The Academy will now turn their attention to the preliminary final, where they will meet Canberra FC for a place in the NPLW Grand Final.
2019 NPLW Capital Football Preliminary Final | Sunday, 8th September
Preliminary Final: Canberra FC v Canberra United Academy | 2pm @ Deakin Stadium