'Our best performance of the season' - Hopkins praises Victory win over Sky Blues
In-form from front-to-back, Melbourne Victory are hitting their straps at the business end of the season following their win over Sydney FC, according to head coach Jeff Hopkins.
The Victory sewed up second-place on the Westfield W-League table following their commanding 3-1 win over last season’s Champions at Marvel Stadium on the back of a second-half double from American Darian Jenkins.
Earlier, Amy Jackson hurried a rebound over the line at close range to give the hosts a single goal half-time advantage, while Sydney struck late via a Natalie Tobin consolation.
With the result securing the Victory a home Semi Final next weekend, Hopkins told melbournevictory.com.au that the performance of his side could not be better timed.
"I would probably say it was our best performance of the season," Hopkins said.
"Against a very good side I thought we handled the threat of their front three really well, I thought our back three and our goalkeeper defended so well.
"Our two wing-backs were most probably the best they've been going forward and defensively and right the way through I could just pick out all the units.
"The midfield did a great job and Tash (Dowie) and Melina (Ayres) did fantastically well up front as well.
"It's nice to pick your best performance for a game as big as this and for this time of the season as well."
Hopkins singled out the performances of Jenkins and Angela Beard as the catalyst to the result – with the duo providing the attacking impetus out wide to stretch the Sydney defence.
"We understood today that the performance of our wing-backs was very important and we kind of stressed that and highlighted it and it's great to see," he said.
"It just shows you the types of players they are, they kind of took that pressure on their shoulders and they went with it. I thought both of them were superb.
"Ange played a little bit higher, D had to play a little bit deeper just with the fact of [Princess] Ibini being on her side, but she still contributed a huge amount, obviously the two goals were both fantastic finishes."
Victory could potentially face a rematch with the Sky Blues next Saturday in their Semi Final at Epping Stadium when they face the regular season’s third placed finisher.
Their opponent will be determined depending on the outcome of the clash between Perth Glory and currently fourth-placed Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday night in Bunbury.
For all Westfield W-League 2020 Finals Series ticketing details, please visit http://www.w-league.com.au/tickets
Westfield W-League Semi Final
Melbourne Victory v Third Placed Team
Saturday, 14 March 2020
Kick-off: 2.00pm AEDT
Venue: Epping Stadium
Broadcast: FOX Sports, ABC
Stream: Kayo Sports, MyFootball App, ABC iView