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'Setting the pace': Three things we learned - ALW Adelaide vs City

If there is anything we have learned over the years, Adelaide United away is a tough trip. Having never won an away match to the Reds before, our City girls have defied history with a gritty 'six-point' victory in a match headlined by a silky Rhianna Pollicina goal and numerous massive saves proving Melissa Barbieri still has the goods.


The first half posed a difficult challenge, with neither side being able to gain the upper hand over one another. Despite Adelaide slightly seeing the better chances of the half, the girls held strong and were able to start the second half well. Seeing more control of the general play, Rebekah Stott was able to find Pollicina for the winning – and only – goal of the match.


So, what did we learn? Find out below:


Pollicina beats Grove to net the winner - Source: Albert Perez/Getty Images

Pollicina is key


While the 24-year-old had a quiet game last time out against Wellington, she was certainly in the spotlight this time. Showcasing her futsal talent, Rhianna took down a Stotty lob, and did not think twice before turning two defenders and passing home a wonderful goal.


If that wasn’t enough to prove that Pollicina is an important cog in this City machine, her general play was brilliant. A true set-piece specialist, she was unlucky not to notch a couple of assists throughout her 86 minutes.


If we are to challenge for trophies this season, Pollicina will most definitely be crucial.


The City girls are the real deal


Many times, we have seen a City squad rich in form return from Coopers Stadium without the points expected of them. However, our girls have somewhat broken this stigma, while further proving that they are ready to go all the way this season.


We can win gritty, withstand an attacking siege, and keep our heads up, even when the general play is against us. These are key requirements for any team looking to win a trophy. I mean, we can’t play Victory and Wellington every week, can we?


While the momentum builds, we continue to set the pace with fellow title contenders Sydney FC, who will be a tough challenge next Sunday.


Pollicina celebrates her winning goal - Source: Melbourne City FC

Barbieri is far from done


Melissa Barbieri signed for us back in 2017, coming out of retirement as an injury-replacement while serving as an assistant coach and mentor. Despite the minimal playing requirements since 2017, ‘Bubs’ has come out firing this season.


Turning 42 in February, Barbieri has certainly proven her worth, making multiple saves against the Reds. Most notably, the veteran shot-stopper pulled off a lovely parry out of the bottom left corner from an excellent volley by Worts and stayed big in a one-on-one situation late in the second half.


While Sally James was poised to return from injury in early January, we may not see her for some time, unless Barbieri’s form is to uncharacteristically falter.


 

With our fourth in a row, our heads now turn towards next Sunday, where our girls will face off with Sydney FC in a season-defining top-of-the-table clash. We can only hope for a massive win, and more so hope that the match isn’t postponed… Come on City!

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