AFC Women's Asian Cup 2010: Group B

China take out top spot with win
By Chris Dunkerley

6:00pm Sunday, 23 May 2010
at Chengdu Sports Centre, Chengdu, China

China 1
(Zhang Rui 9')
Australia 0

The Westfield Matildas lost their third game of Group B in the AFC Women's Asian Cup 2010 against China 0-1 this afternoon at the Chengdu Sports Centre in China. China will top the group with Australia also going through.

With qualification already assured Australia coach Tom Sermanni made 10 changes from the 3-1 win over Korea Republic on Friday with only Heather Garriock remaining thus the sided was more like the opne against Taiwan; while Shang Rui Hua replaced Pang Fengyue with Sun Ling in China's only change.

In the 4th minute the Australian defence allowed a seemingly harmless ball to run across the edge of the area to an unmarked Sun, but with only goalkeeper Lydia Williams to beat, the winger lobbed the ball over keeper and crossbar.

The sole goal of the game came when, following a pass from captain Bi Yan to Zhang Rui on the left, a slip by Matildas full-back Aivi Luik handed allowed Zhang to cut inside and steer a right-footed shot from across Williams and into the bottom right corner from the edge of the area. 1-0

In the 24th minute Matilda's 'keeper Lydia Williams pushed a rising shot form Han Duan over the crossbar as China pressed for a second before the Australian 'keeper produced a spectacular one handed full-length diving save to turn Sun Ling's curling effort from just outside the box over the crossbar.

The Matildas were having trouble getting forward into dangerous positions, being held well by the Chinese defence.

Zhang Rui should have doubled China's lead in the 50th minute but, after being played in by Xu Yuan, she fired a tame shot straight at Williams.

Australia almost took instant advantage but Leena Khamis scuffed her angled shot into the arms of towering China goalkeeper Zhang Yan-ru with the Matildas' first shot on target. Khamis had claims for a penalty in 67th minute but the referee turned away.

Australia's Cup hopes were dealt a huge blow with 18 minutes remaining when substitute striker Lisa De Vanna, who had only replaced Sarah Walsh seven minutes after half-time, was stretchered off after coliding with China goalkeeper Zhang Yanru and twisting her leg awkwardly.

Substitute Collette McCallum almosy had an equaliser with five minutes remaining but her shot from the edge of the area drifted just wide of the upright with Zhang Yan-ru scrambling across her goal.

As the clock wound neared its limit Australia continued to press, with Khamis and Garriock both into good positions but to no avail.

Australia coach Tom Sermanni, meanwhile, remained upbeat despite suffering a first defeat of the campaign. "From our point of view we started slowly particularly in the first half, and we allowed China too much time. But I am pleased with the finish especially in last 30 minutes when we pressured China and were unfortunate not to score," said Sermanni. "Overall, I am disappointed with the result but not with the performance. Our confidence will not be shaken as we finished the game well."

Sermanni defended his decision to field a much changed line-up from the 3-1 win over Korea Republic, but will be left to sweat on the fitness of USA-based striker Lisa De Vanna ahead of Thursday's semi-final after the second-half substitute was taken to hospital for X-rays on her leg following a clash with the China goalkeeper.

"I don't consider any of my players to be second string," he added. "We have done this in past Asian Cups and at the 2007 World Cup. We play the squad as a whole. As we had already qualified we knew we would have to play five games in 12 days so it was important to utilise the squad so we can be fresh for the business end of the tournament."

China coach Shang Ruihua believes the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2010 host are struggling to deal with the burden of expectation despite reaching the semi-finals. "The temperature was very high so it was not easy and although we won 1-0, it was not a good performance as a lot of the players were tense due to their limited capabilities. In the second half we also missed a lot of chances especially Zhang Rui. Australia also played quite well," said Shang. "We scored an early goal but the players have a big burden which limited our players. We had a lot of chances behind the Australia defence and Han Duan played well on and off the ball but she had problems finishing. Other players like Xu Yuan and the wingers should have done better".

The next Asian Cup game for the Matildas is against either DPR Korea or Japan in their semi-final on Thursday at 6pm AEST, live on TV ABC 2.

6:00pm Sunday, 23 May 2010
at Chengdu Sports Centre, Chengdu, China

China 1
(Zhang Rui 9')
Australia 0

    Crowd: 11,000


    CHINA :
    Player listing:
    1. Zhang Yan-ru (gk), 2. Liu Huana, 3. Yuan Fan, 5. Weng XINZHI, 7. Bi YAN, 8. Xu YUAN, 9. Han DUAN (13. Ma JUN +79'), 14. Li DANYANG, 15. Sun LING, 16. Zhang RUI (11. You JIA +84'), 24. Ma ZIXIANG (19. Lou JIAHUI +76')

    Substitutes not used: 4. Jin XIAMOEI, 6. Zhang NA, 12. Guan JINGJING, 17. Pang FENGYUE, 18. Weng XIAOJIE (rgk), 20. Zhou GAOPING

    Coach: Shang Rui Hua (China)

    Yellow Cards: Nil
    Red Cards: Nil

    Player listing:
    18. Lydia WILLIAMS (gk), 3. Karla REUTER, 7. Heather GARRIOCK, 9. Sarah WALSH (11. Lisa DE VANNA +53'-72')(22. Sam KERR +73'), 10. Kylie LEDBROOK, 13. Thea SLATYER (c), 15. Sally SHIPARD, 17. Kyah SIMON (14. Collette MCCALLUM +60'), 19. Leena KHAMIS, 24. Tameka BUTT, 27. Aivi LUIK

    Substitutes not used: 1. Melissa BARBIERI (rgk), 4. Clare POLKINGHORNE, 5. Lauren COLTHORPE, 6. Servet UZUNLAR, 12. Kate GILL, 16. Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, 23. Kim Carroll, 31. Teigen ALLEN, 5. Lauren COLTHORPE, 25. Casey DUMONT

    Coach: Tom Sermanni (Australia)

    Yellow Cards: Karla REUTER 20'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Sachiko Yamagishi (Japan) 6/10
    Ayukai Shiho (Japan), Takahashi Saori (Japan); 4th official: Semaksuk Praew (Thailand); Match Commissioner: Keomany Kanya (Laos); Referee Inspector: Chan Yam Ming Samuel (Hong Kong)

    Best players: Australia -

    Pitch rating: 8/10

    Game rating: 7/10

    Match Report by Chris Dunkerley

Photo gallery:(All photos by Paul Lau for BOTN)

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