Commbank Matildas round off perfect group stage with victory over Thailand
Tony Gustavsson's side will head into the AFC Women's Asian Cup knockout rounds full of confidence, after a 2-1 victory against tournament regulars, Thailand.
The path to AFC Women's Asian Cup silverware has become clearer for Australia, with South Korea awaiting the Group B winners on Sunday evening for the quarter-finals.
Coach Tony Gustavsson freshened up the Starting XI, with tournament debutants McNamara and Vine combining in a front three with Sydney FC striker, Remy Siemsen. The A-League Women's trio started brightly, clicking on numerous occasions.
It was experienced campaigner Emily van Egmond, that proved to be the difference early on, with a fantastic darting run through the heart of the Thai defence, eventually dispatched by the Novocastrian, leading to the single goal lead at half-time.
Despite the patience needed for a new-look attacking set-up to gel, the Commonwealth Bank Matildas eventually found a combination that was as threatening as seen in the first two group matches.
It was not all good news for the Commonwealth Bank Matildas, however. Young starlet Holly McNamara, who has impressed many so far this tournament, succumbed to injury during the match, requiring assistance as she left the field.
After starting a particularly youthful front-line in the first hour of the match, Gustavsson elected to bring on the attacking duo of Kerr and Foord, to help finish off the rugged defence of the Thais.
With ten minutes to play, a loose pass along the Thai back-line was unsurprisingly latched upon by Sam Kerr, who showcased her acute awareness, in sniffing out an opposition mistake.
The ball was eventually bundled in by Kerr, who leaped in front of her marker, deflecting the ball past the helpless Thai goalkeeper.
As victory became assured, the mission for a third consecutive clean sheet became the primary focus. Yet unavoidably, with the last kick of the game, Thai midfielder Nipawan Panyosuk's audacious lob from almost 30 yards out, caught experienced goalkeeper Lydia Williams off guard, culminating in a late Thailand consolation.
Commonwealth Bank Matildas v Korea Repubkic
Date: Sunday, 30 January 2022
Venue: Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Pune
Kick-off: 1.30pm (local), 7:00pm (AEDT)
Broadcast: Live and Exclusive on 10 HD, 10 Bold (WA) and 10 Play