Sydney FC beats Western United 4-0 to claim fourth ALW championship

Madison Haley scored twice in Sydney FC's 4-0 ALW grand final triumph over Western United.

Madison Haley scored twice in Sydney FC's 4-0 ALW grand final triumph over Western United.

Sydney FC has underlined its status as the most successful A-League Women club after thumping Western United 4-0 in the grand final to claim a fourth championship.

Striker Madison Haley scored two goals and assisted Natalie Tobin for another while Princess Ibini won and scored a penalty as Sydney completed the premiership-championship double at CommBank Stadium on Sunday.

In their sixth consecutive grand final, Ante Juric’s charges won for the first time since 2018-19 while denying Mark Torcaso’s United silverware in its first season.

Sydney has drawn level with Melbourne City on four championships but have five premierships to City’s two and is the first team since City in 2015-16 to complete the double.

The match, in front of a record and largely pro-Sydney ALW grand final crowd of 9519, was set against the Australian Professional Leagues’ controversial decision to sell the decider in a deal with Destination NSW.

It meant Sydney played in its home state while United had to travel to the decider rather than receiving hosting rights by beating the Sky Blues 1-0 in the semi-final.

American striker Haley, a first-year player unscarred by Sydney’s previous grand final heartbreaks, was the star.

Her positioning and aerial ability stood out, while defensive duo Tobin and Charlotte Mclean dominated and Mackenzie Hawkesby and Rachel Lowe were busy in midfield.

Sydney drew first blood in the fourth minute when Hawkesby looped a corner to the back post and Haley rose highest over Tyla-Jay Vlajnic to head home.

Adriana Taranto and Keane had chances in the eighth and 14th minutes, but Sydney doubled its lead in the 18th minute.

Hawkesby curled in another back-post corner and Haley flicked the ball on for captain Tobin, in her 100th game, to head home.

Matildas winger Cortnee Vine rolled her left ankle in a challenge with Alana Cerne in the 22nd minute but battled through pain to trouble goalkeeper Hillary Beall multiple times without besting her.

Sydney goalkeeper Jada Whyman denied United three times in quick succession late in the half.

She claimed a Sydney Cummings long-range effort in the 36th minute, then a minute later got down low to deny Keane and in the 40th, came off her line to brilliantly block a Taranto shot.

The game was effectively over in the 63rd minute after Ibini surged into the area and was pulled back by Stacey Papadopoulos.

Ibini, the only player involved in Sydney’s last grand final win four years earlier, coolly dispatched the spot kick into the bottom corner before celebrating with Sydney’s fans.

Haley put an exclamation mark on the win in the 91st minute.


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