Melbourne Victory veteran Lisa De Vanna has fired her team into next Sunday’s W-League grand final after a 6-2 semi-final win over Brisbane, as Roar coach Jake Goodship was left fuming at some questionable refereeing calls.
De Vanna scored two and set up another in an attacking masterclass at Lions Stadium on Sunday, while Melina Ayres notched a second-half hat-trick as Victory moved into their first W-League decider since 2014.
Brisbane, playing without key Matildas duo Clare Polkinghorne and Emily Gielnik after the pair’s departure for Sweden, finished the game with a huge sense of injustice towards referee Lara Lee.
Officials seemed to miss a clear goal to Roar captain Tameka Yallop in the ninth minute, with the ball appearing to clearly cross the line before bouncing out.
Goodship was further aggrieved by a free-kick decision against his team in the lead up to Victory’s second goal just before halftime.
When Lee awarded a questionable penalty to Victory against Roar goalkeeper Georgie Worth in the second half, it was too much for the Roar coach, who was booked for his protests on the sidelines.
“The game was ruined by the referees,” Goodship told Fox Sports. “I’m very disappointed [with] the officials. In my opinion [the penalty] was a disgrace.”
Ayres missed the spot kick but it did little to appease Goodship, especially when Brazilian winger Mariel Hecher’s effort which would have made it 4-3 late in the game was ruled out for offside.
The Roar’s anger did little to bump Victory off their stride however with De Vanna and American Catherine Zimmerman giving the visitors a 2-1 lead at halftime despite a wonder strike by Brisbane’s Olivia Chance.
Four-time W-League championship winner De Vanna then turned the game on its head in the opening period of the second half, setting up Ayres for her first in the 48th minute before scoring her second of the day in the 61st minute.
Yallop got one back for the hosts to make it 4-2 before the late refereeing dramas but when Ayres notched two more to complete her hat-trick, Victory’s place in the decider against either Sydney FC or Canberra United was confirmed.
“She was absolutely amazing, just the intensity she plays the game, to play at that intensity with the quality she’s got is just inspiration to the rest of the team,” Victory coach Jeff Hopkins said of De Vanna.
“When you see a player out there playing like that, you can’t help raise your own game.”