Unlucky AUFC Women draw 2-2 with Canberra

Adelaide United Woman drew 2-2 with Canberra United in Round 5 of the Westfield W-League 2016/17 season at Elite Systems Football Centre on Saturday night.

An astonishing equaliser from Racheal Quigley after Ellie Brush’s penalty, and an own goal deflected off of a Sofia Huerta cross, was not enough for the victory, as Hayley Raso netted a late goal to level the scores, the Adelaide United Women perhaps unfortunate not to grasp the three points. 

United Women Head Coach, Huss Skenderovic, placed Quigley in his Starting XI, in which her performance proved pivotal in the match. Alex Chidiac was also named in the squad as a substitute, who made her presence felt in the second half.

The tantalising contest kept both sides scoreless up until the 25th minute, as chances arrived at either end, with United goalkeeper, Eliza Campbell exceptional in keeping her side alive throughout the nail-biting match paired with pivotal moments from several Reds Women players.  

Canberra United dominated the amount of chances early, with two corners that came close to produce, and a one-on-one opportunity that Campbell won. A shot from Ashleigh Sykes was saved well, again by the United Women shot-stopper. The Capital City outfit lead most of the possession, but Adelaide United fought back with their dangerous counter-attacking skills, which proved evident.

Sofia Huerta and Danielle Colaprico combined inside the box, unlucky not to take the lead through each of their opportunities. Canberra pressured again through Grace Maher, but her attempted shot was deflected, and ended up an easy gather for Campbell. On 21 minutes, Huerta hit a vicious strike form 30 yards out that looked almost guaranteed but went over the bar.

Locked at nil all, Canberra were awarded a penalty, and Brush netted from the spot. Moments after, Huerta composed a stunning through ball to Quigley, followed up by a fantastic run to strike and equalise. 

Kathleen Naughton expertly thwarted Yukari Kinga away from their defensive line, where Huerta would then produce another through ball to Adriana Jones, her shot tipped away by Trudy Burke. Campbell incredibly saved another one-on-one attempt, but from Raso. Minutes before half-time, Monica’s header was cleared off the goal line, denying a lead for the hosts.

The end-to-end action was also illustrated in the second-half, both sides sculptured more chances on goal. In the 54th minute, Adelaide United took the lead, following link-up play by Chidiac and Huerta. Huerta’s cross was deflected off of a Canberra defender, into goal.

Jones’ header scraped the upright, almost finding the back of the net, while Brush’s header scraped the crossbar. But with a dangerous Huerta always ready to pounce, her low-driven shot across goal on the counter, was another close chance. 

Naughton saved the day again, stopping Michelle Heyman as she surged in front of goal. Huerta was in again on goal in the 77th minute, smashing her shot, but is blocked by Burke. 81 minutes in, Raso equalised for the visitors whilst under pressure. With an additional seven minutes added on, Canberra had a few chances, but Jones looked the more promising with a run in the 94th minute, ruled offside, but was brought down inside the box with no penalty awarded, and ultimately had to settle for the share of points in the end. 

Commenting on the result, United Women Boss, Skenderovic was disappointed not to get the win, and their chances were not executed, but remains positive.

“We have made another step in progress with executing a game plan, but unfortunately we didn’t take our chances again, like last week against Western Sydney Wanderers,” Skenderovic said. “We have one-on-one opportunities, and not score, then from their goal kick, the opposition go on to score.

“There are a lot of young girls in the squad, and it is understandable that it will take time for them to learn that part of the game, but it is a step forward for us, as I believe Canberra United are a top team.

“It takes a lot of focus to transition back, so when our opposition knock the ball out, it does take us a few extra seconds to think about what our next pattern of play will be, and know what our position in that second phase is,” Skenderovic continued. “But that is a learning curve, and comes with experience of the game, which we need to improve on, but will take some time.

“We have matched every team we have played, and our finishing has let us down, but we will remain positive and we will keep working hard on our finishing and hopefully we can deliver in our next game against Brisbane Roar.

“Overall, it was a good performance, we had patches of good play and were very solid, it was just moments where we switched off, but the way we have entertained and created those chances, it shows that we are a very entertaining and good footballing team."