Australia tops AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifiers
Australia has finished their 2016 AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifiers campaign after Emily van Egmond’s strike salvaged a 1-1 with China.
With both sides already on the plane for Rio, there was little riding on the result but that didn’t stop a closely fought encounter.
Alen Stajcic continued his squad rotation with six players brought into the starting line up and China looked to take capitalise early.
The opening minutes saw both sides looking to find holes in the defence and it was China who settled first. Attacking down Australia’s right flank, the Steel Roses took advantage with Ma Xiaxu powering home a header in the 17th minute.
China continued to look dangerous in the half but Australia’s defence managed to hold to the break.
The second half saw Stajcic make changes as Australia pressed to find the equaliser.
China on the other hand continued their midfield pressure forcing the Matildas on the back foot with Mackenzie Arnold easily claimed a Lou Jiahui effort in the 48th minute.
The 63rd minute saw Arnold again in the action, this time saving off Ren Guixin long distance effort.
Substitutions saw the Matildas gain back some of the control of the match with Caitlin Foord again proving influential and the forward was involved in Australia’s late equaliser as she edged a ball to Van Egmond.
The midfielder unleashed a swerving strike first time to finally beat the Chinese defence.
The point saw the Matildas finish on top of the qualifying and become Asia’s number 1 team for the first time.
Australia 1 (Van Egmond 85′)
China 1 (Ma 17′)
Wednesday 9 March 2016
Yanmar Stadium Nagai, Osaka
Kick-Off: 7:35pm local time (9:35pm AEDT)
Australia line up: 18.Mackenzie ARNOLD (gk), 3.Caitlin COOPER, 5. Laura ALLEWAY, 6.Chloe LOGARZO, 7.Steph CATLEY, 9.Caitlin FOORD, 10.Emily VAN EGMOND, 11.Lisa DE VANNA, 13.Tameka BUTT (16.Michelle HEYMAN 60′), 17.Kyah SIMON, 19.Katrina GORRY (8. Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT 78′), 20.Ellie CARPENTER (4. Clare POLKINGHORNE 46′)
Substitutes not used: 1.Lydia WILLIAMS (gk), 2.Ashleigh SYKES, 12.Casey DUMONT (gk), 14.Alanna KENNEDY, 15.Emily GIELNIK
Red cards: Nil