A stuttering season has sunken to a new low for Canberra United after the club suffered one of its biggest losses in history in a six-goal thrashing.
A 6-0 loss to Sydney FC on Saturday marked United's sixth winless fixture this season and may prove the final nail in the coffin for the side's A-League Women's finals hopes.
A questionable penalty decision broke the deadlock in the 28th minute and from there it was downhill for United, with the scoreline overtaking the side's previous biggest loss in history from back in 2017 (6-1), which was also to Sydney.
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Left-back Hayley Taylor-Young bustled for the ball with Sydney FC's Maria Rojas in the box, before the striker fell.
Referee Isabella Blaess pointed to the spot and was met with shock and protest from Canberra's goalkeeper Keeley Richards.
Rojas made no mistake from the spot and went on to score her second 13 minutes later.
The Chilean filled the gap left by Remy Siemsen and Cortnee Vine in Sydney's forward line, pouncing on Lauren Keir's under-hit backpass and chipping Richards from a tight angle.
The gap was almost halved by Ash Sykes in the early stages of the second half in a one-on-one with Sky Blues goalkeeper Jada Whyman, ending in her substitution.
A floating cross-turned-goal by Ally Green in the second half further deflated Canberra's chances and tripled the margin it had to chase.
Further carnage in the box a minute later saw Taylor-Young and Chelsee Washington hit the ground during a defensive corner to leave Rojas unmarked and able to score her hat-trick, making it 4-0.
Princess Ibini-Isei continued Sydney's control of the game, delivering another blow in the 83rd minute to make it 5-0, before minutes later Rachel Lowe put the final nail in the coffin.
The loss leaves United with two draws, and subsequently two points halfway through the season.
The home side lost two players - Siemsen and Vine - to the Matildas camp in the United Arab Emirates and the visitors lost one, with Karly Roestbakken called into the Matildas' pre-Asian Cup camp.
United, however, also lost two more players to their starting XI ahead of the fixture with Emma Ilijoski and Grace Maher ruled out due to COVID-19 protocols.
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