AFC Women's Asian Cup 2010: Semifinal

Matildas waltz on!
- into final and into World Cup
By Chris Dunkerley

6:00pm Thursday, 27 May 2010
at Chengdu Sports Centre, Chengdu, China


Japan 0
lost to
Australia 1
(Katie Gill 45'+1)

(The Matildas celebrate - photo by Paul Lau for BOTN)

The Westfield Matildas defeated in-form Japan 1-0 in a semi-final of AFC Women's Asian Cup 2010 tonight at the Chengdu Sports Centre in China. The win put the Matildas into the final, and also straight into the World Cup in Germany next July.

Japanese keeper Ayumi Kaihori under heavy pressure, and her defence, failed to deal with a ball headed into the box by Katie Gill - off a ball forward from Servet Uzunlar - and the danger was cleared only as far as to Gill. The big striker despatched a dipping shot from just inside the area that went into the top of Kaihori's net.

At the start the 5th ranked team in the world got in behind the Matidas' defence and after they hit the left upright Kyoko Yano volleyed over off the rebound, within just three minutes.

The Matildas were there to play also - a ball was played down the right a few minutes later to Sarah Walsh who cut the ball back in to Heather Garriock but the mutch-capped Matilda was closed down quickly.

17 minutes in and a Japan handball gave Australia a free-kick 40m out. With dead-ball chances like gold, specialist Collette McCallum stepped up and sent a typically dangerous ball into the box which forced 'keeper Kaihori Ayumi to punch the ball out but only as far as fullback Lauren Colthorpe who had come forward, and she put the ball back into the mix but Japan were able to clear.

Japan were able to start stringing passes together with carefully crafted moves, starving the Matildas of possession and building up for the final ball. In the 22nd minute Kim Carroll was alert to an incisive ball and covered well. Mellissa Barbieri started to see a lot more of the ball, and the Australians had to defend in depth.

Although the pressure seemed inexorable Australia looked to play on the break and in the 40th minute Elise Kellond-Knight bussled her way up the left side, and laid the ball inside to Garriock, who swtitched it over to Walsh free on the right. The striker took a few strides and with a defender bearing down she took a shot that sailed past the right upright.

Into the danger time before the break and Servet Uzunlar closed down a chance for Nagasato Yuki and the Australian's broke up field resulting in the previously described goal by Katie Gill. 0-1

The goal gave the Matildas much more confidence when they came out, and again Kellond-Knight got up on the left and crossed, only to see Japan clear under pressure.

Despite the more even balance of play in this half, Melissa Barbieri came under more direct fire as Japan grew more desperate, the balance of free kicks swung inexplicably to Japan, and the defence tired. Japan's danger-woman Miyama Ayu played herself into the ground trying to find the goal they needed so badly - twice drawing a superb save from Barbieri.

A close chance for Japan in the 68th minute when Kinga Yukari got forward only to see her shot from the right scrape over the crossbar.

As the game drew on the Australians play became less frantic and as Japan's composure left them substitute Sam Kerr picked up a loose ball just inside their half. She ran at 3 defenders and turned them enough to cut inside curling a ball across to Clare Polkinghorne surging down the right. 'Polks' piledriver on the run was just past the right upright.

Final whistle, all over, historic victory and the Matildas waltz on! To the final, and World Cup 2011.

It was a disciplined defensive display from Australia, who also secured a place at next year's FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany, as they successfully held out the threat of the Japanese team that had scored 14 goals and conceded just one during the group stage, unbeaten in 15 games, and not beaten by Australia for a considerable time (including having twice lost to the 'Nadeshiko' at the 2008 AC tournament.

Australian coach Tom Sermanni believes his side have their best chance yet to lift the AFC Women's Asian Cup trophy in Sunday's final having just missed out to China four years ago.

He said, "We go into Sunday's final without any real pressure and a great deal of confidence having beaten Japan". Sermanni believes his side have their best chance yet to lift the AFC Women's Asian Cup trophy in Sunday's final having just missed out to China four years ago. "I would like to congratulate my players on their magnificent effort. I thought their defensive discipline and our effort and concentration were outstanding. This group of players now feel that they can beat anybody. It was the biggest pressure game that we have had so far in this tournament and was against the team we felt are the best. We go into Sunday's final without any real pressure and a great deal of confidence having beaten Japan."

The next Asian Cup game for the Matildas is the final vs DPR Korea (North Korea) on Sunday at 9:30pm AET. The recent win in the two game series in Australia will give the Matildas confidence. China having lost 0-1 in the other semifinaL will now play Japan for 3rd place and the remaining World Cup qualification place.



6:00pm Thursday, 27 May 2010
at Chengdu Sports Centre, Chengdu, China

Japan 0
lost to
Australia 1
(Katie Gill 45'+1)

    Crowd: 1,200

    MATCH STATS:

    JAPAN :
    Player listing:
    12. Kaihori Ayumi (gk), 2. Iwashimizu Azusa, 3. Yano Kyoko (17. Kamionabe Megumi +88'), 4. Kumagai Saki, 5. Kinga Yukari, 6. Sameshima Aya, 8. Miyama Ayu, 9. Nagasato Yuki, 10. Sawa Homare, 13. Yamaguchi Mami (7. Ando Kozue + 35'), 16. Sudo Akiko (14. Utsugi Rumi +59')

    Substitutes not used: 1. Yamago Nozomi (rgk), 11. Ohno Shinobu, 15. Toyoda Nayuha, 18. Nakano Manami, 20. Sugasawa Yuika, 21. Fukumoto Miho (rgk), 22. Takase Megumi, 24. Kawasumi Nahomi, 36. Minamiyama Chiaki

    Coach: Sasaki Norio

    Yellow Cards: Nil
    Red Cards: Nil

    AUSTRALIA :
    Player listing:
    1. Melissa Barbieri (gk) (c), 4. Clare Polkinghorne, 5. Lauren Colthorpe (27. Aivi Luik +82'), 6. Servet Uzunlar, 7. Heather Garriock, (22. Sam KERR +'), 12. Kate Gill, 14. Collette McCallum ( + '), 15. Sally SHIPARD, 16. Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, 23. Kim CARROLL, 9. Sarah WALSH (31. Teigen ALLEN +61')

    Substitutes not used: 3. Karla Reuter, 10. Kylie Ledbrook, 13. Thea Slatyer, 17. Kyah Simon, 18. Lydia Williams (rgk), 19. Leena Khamis, 24. Tameka Butt, 25. Casey Dumont (rgk)

    Coach: Tom Sermani (Australia)

    Yellow Cards: Elise Kellond-Knight 50', Collette McCallum 37'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Pannipar Kaori (Thailand) 5/10
    Assistants: Liu Hsui Mey (Taiwan), Kim Kyoung Min (South Korea); Fourth Official: Wang Jia (China)

    Best players: Japan - 8. Miyama Ayu, 9. Nagasato Yuki; Australia - 16. Elise Kellond-Knight, 23. Kim Carroll, 1. Mellissa Barbieri

    Pitch rating: 7/10

    Game rating: 8/10

    Match Report by Chris Dunkerley

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











































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