Matildas at the Cyprus Cup

Australia edge past the Netherlands 1-0

Australia edge past the Netherlands 1-0

Australia started their Cyprus Cup campaign with a tight 1-0 win over the Netherlands at  GSZ Larnaca, Cyprus.

Substitute Larissa Crummer’s 73rd minute goal was enough for the Matildas to claim maximum points over the Netherlands for the first time in three attempts.

“It was a good starting point for us and certainly a good way to start this Cyprus Cup,” said head coach Alen Stajcic.

“If we build on that I am sure we are going to be a good outfit in 5 – 6 weeks time when we return to Australia.”

In cool evening conditions in Larnaca, the Netherlands started the match brightly and controlled the opening stanza through their stars Manon Melis and Danielle van der Donk.

Despite controlling possession, the Dutch were never really able to threaten the re-worked Matildas back four of Uzunlar, Polkinghorne, Catley and Kellond-Knight.

It was Australia who fashioned the best chance early as Katrina Gorry’s 6th minute near post cross was met by Kyah Simon but the striker couldn’t mark her return to the starting line up with a goal.

After Australia looked to have worked their way into the match Oranje wrested back control in a fast paced encounter.

The engrossing midfield tussle meant neither side was able to really trouble the respective goalkeepers.

Emily van Egmond soon became prominent in the match as her combinations with Katrina Gorry and Lisa De Vanna started to open up the Dutch defence.

Australia looked to break the deadlock on 26 minutes when van Egmond found a way through only to be brought down from behind. The protests from the Matildas XI and the bench were dismissed by the referee.

Although both nations had half chances late in the first 45, it remained locked at 0-0 heading into the break.

The second half once again saw the Netherlands start the better with Sherida Spitse and Lieke Martens joining Melis and van der Donk in asking questions of the Australian defence.

An early Dutch corner was headed just over the crossbar and then a quick counter attack ended in the side netting being disturbed as the Netherlands looked more likely to open the scoring.

Strong work on the flanks from Uzunlar and captain for the night Kellond-Knight, playing her 50th international for Australia, provided the Matildas with an outlet and again it wasn’t long before Australia won their share of the crucial contests.

Heading into the final 30 minutes Stajcic made game changing substitutions as Crummer, Alanna Kennedy and Ashleigh Sykes all added fresh legs and additional pace.

It proved the difference in the 73rd minute when Lisa De Vanna played centre meter perfect ball to Crummer off the should of the Dutch defence.

With Geurts on rushing the Brisbane Roar striker kept her composure to calmly finish far post to give Australia the lead and net her first senior international goal.

Sykes then used her blistering pace to get in behind the tiring Netherlands defence but on both occasions her efforts just pulled wide.

“We are quietly building a squad of 20 – 23 players who can all come in a do the job and so far they have done it,” Stajcic continued.

“But I am more impressed in the performances than the results.”

“The Netherlands have some world class players and I think they will surprise a few teams so for us to match them for a large portion of the game is really pleasing.”

“However there is certainly a lot to work on with our shape and decision making and our defensive structures as well but it is very promising.”

Next up for the Matildas are three time Cyprus Cup finalists England who had a comfortable win 3 – 1 win over Finland in the earlier Group A fixture.

Cyprus Cup

Netherlands      0
Australia             1 (Crummer 73′)

4 March 2015
GSZ Larnaca
Kick off: 17:30 local (2.30am AEDT)

Australia Line up: Brianna Davey, Servet Uzunlar, Clare Polkinghorne, Stephanie Catley, Elise Kellond-Knight, Teresa Polias, Emily van Egmond, Katrina Gorry (Alanna Kennedy), Kyah Simon (Larissa Crummer), Michelle Heyman (Ashleigh Sykes), Lisa De Vanna (Kate Gill)

Netherlands Line up: Loes Geurts, Desiree van Lunteren, Stefanie van der Gragt, Mandy van den Berg, Siree Worm, Anouk Dekker, Manon Melis, Sherida Spitse, Kirsten Van De Ven, Danielle van der Donk, Lieke Martens

Upcoming Matches

Australia v England
6 March 2015
GSP Nicosia
Kick off: 17:30 local (2.30am AEDT)

Australia v Finland
9 March 2015
GSZ Larnaca
Kick off: 17:30 local (2.30am AEDT)

Matildas Squad

Laura ALLEWAY, Mackenzie ARNOLD (gk), Nicola BOLGER, Stephanie CATLEY, Larissa CRUMMER, Brianna DAVEY (gk), Lisa DE VANNA, Caitlin FOORD, Kate GILL, Katrina GORRY, Michelle HEYMAN, Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, Alanna KENNEDY, Collette McCALLUM, Teresa POLIAS, Clare POLKINGHORNE, Hayley RASO, Gema SIMON, Kyah SIMON, Ashleigh SYKES, Servet UZUNLAR, Emily VAN EGMOND