Sport Football Sam Kerr scores twice as Matildas too strong for South Korea at Cup of Nations

Sam Kerr scores twice as Matildas too strong for South Korea at Cup of Nations

Australian captain Sam Kerr opens the scoring with her first-half penalty. Photo: Getty
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Sam Kerr nabbed her first goals as Australian captain and Lisa De Vanna erased any doubts about her worth to the Matildas in Sunday night’s 4-1 defeat of South Korea in Brisbane.

The Matildas are heavily favoured to win the Cup of Nations after a second morale-boosting result of Ante Milicic’s tenure, sealed by a super strike by Emily Gielnik.

In Brisbane, pace was the difference.

Kerr stole in front of Korean defenders twice in the first half, winning a penalty for an early opener before racing onto a poor backpass to blast into the net in stoppage time.

Lisa De Vanna’s back-post finish was also the result of hard work – bustling runs through the middle from Hayley Raso and Tameka Butt before the veteran arrived to tap home a saved shot from Butt.

The goal ended a run of 12 internationals without a goal for De Vanna, Australia’s all-time leading scorer.

De Vanna was sharp but, on Kerr’s performance, it won’t be long until the Western Australian, nine years her junior, takes over her mantle.

Geummin Lee of South Korea gets the better of Lisa De Vanna in the air. Photo: Getty

The Matildas’ superstar was a constant menace to the Korean defence and, courtesy of Emily van Egmond’s superb lofted passes, also had headed chances to add to her tally.

Milicic made six changes to the team that defeated New Zealand 2-0 in Sydney on Thursday without a major performance fall, although Alanna Kennedy’s absence with calf tightness left Australia’s defence wanting on a couple of occasions.

South Korea’s Hwayeon Son shields the ball from Clare Polkinghorne. Photo: Getty

That was evident when a communication breakdown left Ellie Carpenter conceding a free kick just outside the box for South Korea’s goal.

Chelsea stalwart Ji So-yun, who scored a double in South Korea’s 5-0 rout of Argentina on Thursday, produced a curling strike from the dead ball that beat Mackenzie Arnold.

There was no shortage of chances in the second half, although it wasn’t until Milicic made his sixth substitution that the Matildas added a fourth.

Gielnik, in career-best form, dummied her marker and unleashed a strike from wide that left goalkeeper Kim Jung-mi with no chance.

The emphatic result means Australia needs only to avoid defeat against world No.36 Argentina on the final match day to claim the tournament.

Earlier, Catherine Bott’s 35-metre thunderbolt helped New Zealand scored a 2-0 win over Argentina.

The wonder goal – Bott’s first for the national team – came after Katie Rood’s opener, giving the Football Ferns a rebounding win after their first-up loss to the Matildas.

Bott was closer to the centre circle than the box when she unleashed a swerving strike that perplexed goalkeeper Laurina Oliveros.

The result means Argentina, which was smashed 5-0 last week by South Korea, will need to defeat the Matildas in Melbourne on Wednesday to avoid the wooden spoon.