13/04/2024

Canberra's Grace Jale was the away side's lone goalscorer on Saturday (Image: Canberra United Twitter/Anthony Caffery)

The heat proved the biggest enemy of both sides at Perry Park as Brisbane and Canberra played out their third-straight draw. It was also Canberra’s seventh draw in their last 10 games, prompting the critics to question if they’re capable of putting games away.

In five of those draws, Canberra scored the first goal and was unable to hold onto the lead. They’ve opened this A-League campaign with two draws and unfortunately look set for another disappointing season.

Canberra started well and went ahead in the 23rd minute after a chaotic ball in the six-yard box saw players from both sides running into one another with Grace Jale getting the last touch before the ball fell into the net.

It was a turn of fortune for United, with the Roar looking like the dominant side for major parts of the game. The Brisbane side was unlucky not to score until Matildas forward Lisa Krummer capitalised on a second-chance shot in the 53rd minute.

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After conceding the levelling goal, Canberra appeared to be in trouble with Brisbane attacking with building confidence however United were more than likely saved by a water break taken in the 60th minute. The break quelled any momentum that Brisbane had and allowed the travelling team to slowly build back into the game.

Canberra had most of the ball in the final 20 minutes but struggled to get a shot on target. When they did, they were faced with Hensley Hancuff who made integral saves in the dying moments to force a draw. The 22-year-old played with experience beyond her years as she instructed defenders ahead of her and found herself in the right position whenever a shot was taken.

Njegosh Popovich will be disappointed with his sides’ ability to execute their chances in Saturday’s clash. He spoke to the media after the Round One result explaining that it was an area for improvement.

“We lacked finishing today,” Popovich said after the Perth match.

“We definitely created enough chances to get a result so it’s unfortunate. If we just finish on 50 per cent of our realistic chances, the score would’ve been a blow-out. But we didn’t, it’s not enough.”

Canberra has taken 42 shots over two games for 15 shots on target and only three goals which are worrying signs for the team.

Popovich will be hoping for a much-improved performance against bottom-placed Wellington next week when they return home to McKellar Park in front of their home fans. The team will hope it builds confidence before they meet Perth once again and then come up against the heavyweights in Melbourne City.

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