Milivojevic delivers Canberra’s first win, Vine scores

Anna Harrington |

Vesna Milivojevic celebrates after her hat-trick led Canberra United to a 5-1 thumping of Brisbane.
Vesna Milivojevic celebrates after her hat-trick led Canberra United to a 5-1 thumping of Brisbane.

Serbian star Vesna Milivojevic has scored a hat-trick to lead Canberra United to a 5-1 rout of Brisbane, while Matildas winger Cortnee Vine returned from injury to deliver Sydney FC a 1-0 win over Newcastle.

But Milivojevic’s star turn, which delivered Canberra’s first win of the A-League Women season, was prematurely cut short when she was forced from the field in tears with a potentially serious knee injury.

Elsewhere, Wellington and Melbourne Victory fought out a 2-2 draw.

Vine entered the fray in the 54th minute at the No.2 Sportsground in Newcastle and netted 30 minutes later.

Jets goalkeeper Izzy Nino hit a shallow clearance straight to Princess Ibini, who squared the ball for Vine to tap home.

At McKellar Park, Milivojevic toepoked home in the sixth minute, then added a lovely finish on the half-volley in the 17th minute to put hosts Canberra in control.

Teammate Sofia Christopherson added a third with a fierce strike in the 37th minute, before Mary Stanic-Floody powered home United’s fourth goal in the 46th.

Mia Corbin teed up Sharn Freier to get a goal back for the Roar three minutes later.

But Milivojevic completed her hat-trick and iced the victory by darting around a defender to score in the 73rd.

The 21-year-old’s eight goals for the season put her outright top of the golden boot standings, ahead of injured Melbourne City star Holly McNamara (six) and Western Sydney’s Sophie Harding (five).

But Milivojevic’s day ended in the 75th minute after an awkward landing when she was clipped in a duel with Roar skipper Ayesha Norrie.

Canberra, who played the final 15 minutes with 10 players, will hope it isn’t the dreaded ACL tear for Milivojevic, who was comforted by Norrie on the field.

The Phoenix sit third on 13 points, with the Victory fourth on 11, behind Perth and Melbourne City (16 points) after a spirited clash in windy conditions in Porirua earlier on Sunday.

“You can’t go into any game thinking that it’s going to be a definite win,” Victory skipper Kayla Morrison told Sky Sports.

“So every game is going to be like you’re playing the top team because it’s up for grabs at this point.”

Morrison opened the scoring with a header from a corner in the 15th minute, with Wellington’s Kate Taylor responding two minutes later.

Emma Main put the Phoenix in front in the 24th minute before Kurea Okino equalised in the 37th.

Wellington had 11 shots (five on target) to Victory’s 17 (nine on target), but Mariana Speckmaier should have scored the winner in the 85th minute when she was one-on-one with Lydia Williams, only to blast over the bar.

Phoenix goalkeeper Rylee Foster denied Victory winger McKenzie Wienert in added time.