CommBank Matildas go down fighting to Olympic Champions in Brisbane

Tokyo 2020 gold medallists, Canada, secured a 1-0 victory in front of a crowd of 25,016 at Suncorp Stadium after the CommBank Matildas were unable to recover from a first-half wonder strike from Manchester United’s new signing Adriana Leon.

MAT v CAN SYD Match Annoucement

In a game where both teams would have felt that they could have scored more, it was Canada’s defence that ultimately decided the day. For Canada, Bianca St. Georges was particularly imperious.

Australia started the brighter of the two teams. It took a spectacular save from Canada’s goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan to deny a Sam Kerr header in the fourth minute that resulted from a pinpoint Emily van Egmond cross.

The midfield three of Katrina Gorry, Emily van Egmond and Mary Fowler were effective at creating opportunities for the forward line. In particular, in her role as the deepest lying midfielder, Gorry was able to dictate play for large spells of the match.

However, the inability from Australia to clear their lines after a set piece gave Canada’s Adriana Leon an opportunity to shoot from outside the penalty area created an opportunity that she took with aplomb, leaving Australia’s goalkeeper Lydia Williams with no chance, as the ball rocketed into the back of the net.

Canada have built their success in recent times on the back of a sturdy defensive line and despite missing several starters, they were not ever going to give up their early advantage easily.

They nearly doubled their lead in the 23rd minute after a dangerous run from Nichelle Prince resulted in Jordyn Guitema being fouled just outside the penalty area by Clare Polkinghorne. While the wall did their job on that occasion, Prince remained a constant threat to the Australian back line throughout the game.

The best opportunity in the first half for the CommBank Matildas came from a Katrina Gorry through ball that found its way to the feet of Sam Kerr. However, Canada’s keeper Sheridan was able to smother it after Kerr took a touch too many and Emily Gielnik fired over the resulting rebound.

Aivi Luik made her 37th international appearance in the 39th minute after Alanna Kennedy was forced off with an injury.

Australia emerged from the halftime break with renewed vigour and determination to snatch the equaliser, but were matched with an equally disciplined and well-drilled Canada.

Gielnik had a promising chance early that was started by Kerr in the midfield but she was only able to ripple the side netting. Kyra Cooney-Cross was also able to find space for a shot on target in the 60th minute but was unable to find the required power to beat Sheridan.

Canada had several golden opportunities to double their lead. Prince only had Lydia Williams to beat when she shot wide in the 72nd minute and substitute Cloe Lacasse squandered arguably an even better opportunity with five minutes of regular time to go, missing the frame of the goal after beating Williams.

Cortnee Vine had the greatest impact of Australia’s substitutes. She shot wide after being played through by Sam Kerr and returned the favour by creating an opportunity a few minutes later, only for Kerr to shoot wide on the same side.

The Commbank Matildas never gave up, with a Sam Kerr header from a late corner acrobatically tipped over the bar from Sheridan. Unfortunately for the Australians, their late pressure wasn’t enough to force an equaliser.

The CommBank Matildas will face Canada in the second and final match of this friendly series on Tuesday, 6 September at Allianz Stadium.

CommBank Matildas v Canada 
Date: Tuesday, 6 September 2022 
Venue: Allianz Stadium 
Kick-Off: 7.40 pm AEST 
Broadcast: Live and free on Network 10 and simulcast on 10 Play and Paramount+.  
Tickets available now

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This article was originally published on the CommBank Matildas website.