Canberra United storms into W-League finals with a 2-1 win against Perth Glory
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Canberra United storms into W-League finals with a 2-1 win against Perth Glory

Canberra United proved it can be a serious contender for the W-League championship, punching its ticket to the finals with a 2-1 win against minor premiers Perth Glory on Sunday.

Needing at least a point to scrape into the top four, second-half goals from Michelle Heyman and a stunning Ashleigh Sykes volley kept United's season alive.

United finished third on the table to set up a semi-final showdown against Melbourne Victory in Geelong on Saturday, while the Glory will host Sydney FC on Sunday.

Sykes could not contain her excitement at moving into the last four.

"It's amazing," Sykes said.

"We knew we needed a result and to score a goal like that, it's perfect.

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"It was a bit nerve-racking coming into today, but we had confidence we could get a result and carry it on to next week."

United looms as the wildcard of the finals series, having beaten Glory and Victory this season.

However, it lost games against Adelaide United and Brisbane Roar - both of which missed the finals - and shared the points with the Western Sydney Wanderers and Newcastle Jets.

United's American midfielder Lori Lindsey, who played her final game in Canberra barring the side hosting the grand final, said inconsistency could work in the team's favour.

"It's been an up and down season for us, which isn't necessarily a bad thing," Lindsey said.

"It's proven that when we need to get some results and some points, we do.

"It shows the resilience of this team and the fight."

United was forced to come from behind after Perth striker Samantha Kerr opened the scoring in the 52nd minute with a clinical finish.

That sparked United into action, as Heyman equalised on 68 minutes to the delight of the 971-strong crowd at Viking Park.

Still, tension remained with United's season on the line, before Sykes' amazing volley four minutes from full-time sent the fans into raptures.

"I was sizing it up as it was coming over," Sykes said.

"It looked pretty sweet and I hit it better than I thought.

"Scoring a big goal is nice and gives us the confidence for next week."

The only concern for United is an ankle injury to central defender Ellie Brush.

Brush was involved in a heavy tackle late in the first half and was substituted soon after the break after trying to play on.

With top spot wrapped up, the Glory took no risks with Matildas duo Caitlin Foord and Alanna Kennedy, leaving them in Perth ahead of next week's semi-final.

Chances were few and far between in the first half.

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Perth goalkeeper MacKenzie Arnold was forced off just before half-time with swelling to her face after she and Heyman collided.

W-LEAGUE: Canberra United 2 (Michelle Heyman 68', Ashleigh Sykes 86') defeated Perth Glory 1 (Samantha Kerr 52') at Viking Park on Sunday. Crowd: 971