Sport Football Matildas get back in the winner’s circle

Matildas get back in the winner’s circle

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A pair of quickfire goals Katrina Gorry and Tameka Butt lifted the Matildas to a 2-0 win in the opening game of their two-match series against China in Wollongong.

Coming off a 4-0 hammering by Olympic champions USA last month, the Matildas got back on track despite a number of key withdrawals in the lead-up to the clash.

Coach Hesterine de Reus was forced to re-shape the side, with co-captain Kate Gill, goalkeeper Brianna Davey and defender Teigen Allen all ruled out.

The 16th-ranked China proved a tough opponent and created several goalscoring chances in an even opening half, but the eighth-ranked Australians were physically superior and dominated the latter stages of the game.

“It was totally different (to the USA) game,” said De Reus.

“I thought China were great in their short-combination play which gave us some trouble.”

“We kept our areas well and were really good in our counter-attack.

“We created some fantastic opportunities, scored two great goals and were really effective in the way we played.”

Local heroine Michelle Heyman narrowly failed to latch onto two half-openings, while Li Yang missed a good chance for China in an open first half.

A Shanshan Wang cross threatened to drop under the crossbar and it took an athletic save from Lydia Williams to keep China from breaking the deadlock.

Australia then took the game by the scruff of the neck nabbing two goals in a five-minute spell.

Brisbane Roar midfielder Gorry, who started ahead of Emily Van Egmond, staked her claims for selection by bursting through a couple of would-be tacklers to finish from close range.

Then Roar teammate Butt converted with a typical poacher’s finish after China failed to clear a free-kick played into the penalty area.

China began the second half with renewed vigour and player of the match Gorry was forced to clear off the line, before threatening to grab her second at the other end. Gorry’s drive from the edge of the penalty area was kept out by a finger-tip save from goalkeeper Fei Wang.

Australia, who are preparing to defend their Asian title in Vietnam next May, will face China again on Wednesday in Parramatta.