Commbank Matildas bow out of AFC Women's Asian Cup after narrow defeat to South Korea
The Commonwealth Bank Matildas have suffered a heartbreaking end to their AFC Women's Asian Cup campaign, after South Korea stunned the green and gold with a late 1-0 victory
Tony Gustavsson's side were determined to control the match early, keeping the ball tight while defending aggressively whenever South Korea recovered in their own half.
The Koreans showed their technical quality however, managing to break the Australian resistance at certain points in the first-half. Kerr, Simon, and Foord may have been given a couple of opportunities to convert, yet it was the opposition that produced the best goal-scoring chances.
The heroics of Lydia Williams came to the fore, however, with three crucial saves denying a priceless lead for the South Koreans. Williams was amongst three goalkeepers fighting for one spot heading into the tournament, with her quarter-final performance confirming her long-term starting berth for the experienced international.
Australia's tough luck in the first half looked to have been compounded with five minutes to play before the break, as a tussle involving Foord and Lee sent the South Korean to the ground within the penalty-box.
Many within the Australian camp felt aggrieved by the referee's decision to give the Koreans a penalty kick. However, the footballing gods briefly shined down on the Commonwealth Bank Matildas, with Cho skying her spot-kick over the crossbar, keeping the scores level during half-time.
The second half saw speed-star Cortnee Vine introduced into the match, with the South Korean defenders growing visibly tired. Despite the added pace, Australia struggled to put their opposition away, with captain Sam Kerr skewing an open-goal effort in the 65th minute, after a brilliant run and assist by Vine.
Lydia Williams may have been equal to every previous Korean effort, but there was nothing that the Arsenal shot-stopper could do about Chelsea superstar Ji So-Yun's long-range strike in the 82nd minute. The talisman #10 managed to wriggle her way through three green and gold markers, before letting fly into the right top corner.
Despite the late charge upfield to find an equaliser, Gustavsson's team found themselves at the mercy of the match officials, with the referee's final whistle signalling the end of a campaign that showed such early promise and memorable moments.
The focus now turns to 18-months time, with the Commonwealth Bank Matildas preparing to host their first FIFA Women's World Cup.