The Westfield Matildas’ Tournament of Nations title defence is off to a dream start after defeating Brazil 3-1 at Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas.
Australia were gifted the perfect start through Poliana’s own goal, with the Brazil defender heading Elise Kellond-Knight’s corner past goalkeeper Barbara in the eighth minute.
And it was another corner delivery, this time from Emily van Egmond, that allowed Tameka Butt to double the lead shortly before half time.
Van Egmond’s cross floated over the arms of Barbara before bouncing off the knees of Daiane, leaving the Australian midfielder to send a stooping header into an empty net.
While two set piece errors were Brazil’s undoing in a physical opening half, there was no doubting the class of Australia’s third.
After gaining possession in midfield, Butt slid Sam Kerr through on goal where she advanced into the area and lifted the ball over Barbara with an emphatic finish.
Kerr found the net in each of the Westfield Matildas’ last three victories over the South Americans, and this strike – her 25th in green and cold - captured the striker’s exceptional intelligence, power and finesse.
Five-time player of the year Marta tried her best to drag Brazil back into the contest with a few surging runs and delicate touches, and was on hand to tee up a 78th minute strike for Debinha, who tucked away a cutback from close range.
It proved to be little more than a consolation effort for the reigning Copa América Femenina Champions, who will need to pick up three points against Japan on Monday morning to keep their tournament dream alive.
Australia can strengthen their claim for back to back titles in their clash with the United States in Connecticut, also on Monday morning, kick off 9:00AM (AEST).
Westfield Matildas 3 (Poliana o.g 8’, Butt 39’, Kerr 49’)
Brazil 1 (Debhina 79’)
Friday 27 June, 2018
Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kansas
Westfield Matildas XI: Lydia Williams, Ellie Carpenter, Clare Polkinghorne, Alanna Kennedy, Elise Kellond-Knight, Emily van Egmond, Tameka Butt (Alex Chidiac 75’), Chloe Logarzo (Caitlin Foord 86’), Kyah Simon (Katrina Gorry 59’), Hayley Raso (Lisa De Vanna 69’), Sam Kerr (Mary Fowler 90+3’)
Brazil XI: Barbara, Poliana, Monica, Daiane, Tamires, Marta, Andressinha, Thaisa, Debinha, Thais, Beatriz
STORY OF THE MATCH
4’ WARNING SHOT BY BRAZIL: Debinha finds some space on the left channel but an excellent recovery from Ellie Carpenter forces the Brazilian forward to rush her shot, which goes harmlessly wide.
8’ AUSTRALIA TAKE THE LEAD: Brazilian defender Poliana tries to head Elise Kellond-Knight’s in-swinging corner away, but her attempted clearance ends up looping over Barbara and in.
24’ BUTT GOES CLOSE: Sam Kerr hooks a cross from the by-line to the back post, but it is a fraction too high for the unmarked Tameka Butt who heads over.
27’ SIMON BOOKED: Kyah Simon enters the book for a foul on Marta.
30’ WILLIAMS SAVES: Andressinha advances to the edge of the area and shoots, but Lydia Williams is on hand to collect the Brazilian midfielder’s snapshot.
34’ YELLOW FOR VAN EGMOND: Marta is causing the Australian midfield some issues: van Egmond is booked for a cynical foul after the playmaker darted into space.
39’ BUTT DOUBLES THE LEAD: Van Egmond’s corner floats over the head of Barbara and bounces back across the knee of Daiane: Butt is unmarked and nods into an empty net.
43’ DANGER FROM MARTA: It’s another dangerous moment from Marta who steams forward down the left before lashing a left-footed effort across goal.
49’ EMPHATIC FROM KERR: Kerr is slipped through down the right by Butt, and the Australian striker strides into the area before finding the roof of the net with a sensational chipped finish.
54’ KELLOND—KNIGHT IN THE BOOK: The makeshift Australian left back is next in the book.
73’ GREAT RECOVERY FROM AUSTRALIA: Marta threads a delicious ball into path of Adriana but Carpenter races back to thwart the Brazilian substitute.
79’ HOPE FOR BRAZIL: Marta gets the assist her performance has deserved. The attacker skips past Polkinghorne on the left and squares for Debinha, who meets the ball with a near post run and tucks it away.
85’ BRILLIANT SAVE FROM WILLIAMS: The Australian goalkeeper has been rarely troubled throughout the match but comes up with an outstanding reaction save to preserve the two-goal advantage. Marta wreaks havoc on the flank again, finding a teammate on the penalty spot but Williams is there to block from close range.
89’ FOORD DENIED: Caitlin Foord arrived into the fray as a late substitute for Chloe Logarzo and came close to adding a fourth for Australia, but sees her shot blocked in the box.