Sport Football Matildas lose opening Algarve Cup match to Sweden
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Matildas lose opening Algarve Cup match to Sweden

matildas algarve cup
Australian striker Lisa De Vanna and her team struggled against Sweden. Photo: AAP
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The Matildas have lost 1-0 to Sweden in a poor showing to begin their Algarve Cup campaign in Portugal.

Australia had the ascendancy for most of the first half but squandered chances before world number eight Sweden re-grouped to dominate the group C match at Albufeira.

Kyah Simon had the Matildas’ best first-half opportunity when Perth Glory’s Sam Kerr coasted past two defenders to find the Sydney FC attacker, who blazed her shot over the bar after half-an-hour.

The Matildas’ defence will be a focal point for improvement in future matches at the invitational tournament, with the Swedes catching their opponents napping after the break but missing golden chances to begin the half.

Sweden broke the deadlock in the 60th minute, with captain Lotta Shelin charging down the right side and beating defender Elise Kellond-Knight before finishing at a tight angle.

In their first match since their Rio Olympics quarter-final loss to Brazil last year, the world number six Matildas pressed for a late goal but disjointed attacks cruelled their prospects.

A cracking strike by Simon with just over 20 minutes remaining was tipped over the bar by Sweden stopper Hedvig Lindahl.

Sweden had an opportunity to extend its lead in the 70th minute, hitting the post after Australia’s defence was all at sea in defending a cross.

Some slick passing in the forward third provided a chance to equalise late, but Lindahl denied Kerr’s attempted chip to snuff out the Matildas’ charge.

The Matildas face the Netherlands in their next match on Saturday morning (AEDT) before facing China three days later.

– ABC

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