Alagich goes out a winner

The Matildas have sent Di Alagich out a winner in her final international match, 1-0 against New Zealand at North Sydney Oval.

The Matildas have sent Di Alagich out a winner in her final international match, 1-0 against New Zealand at North Sydney Oval.

Alagich making her 86th and final appearance for the national team put in her usual professional performance before being replaced late in the match to standing ovation from the appreciative crowd on hand.

Leena Khamis scored the only goal of the game after 35 minutes, a header over the keeper from close range.

It was a tough test for the Matildas who had to absorb a fair bit of pressure from the Football Ferns in the second half as they looked for an equaliser. Alagich in fact had the first chance of the match after nine minutes, heading a Heather Garriock corner over the bar.

Khamis, on for Kyah Simon after 22 minutes, then came on and instantly had two chances, the first after 25 minutes when she looked through but tripped over and then a minute later, she was again through but her shot was straight at the keeper.

Khamis then had a goal disallowed in the 31st minute after a beautiful free kick by Garriock to the back post was stabbed home.

But she was not to be denied four minutes later, when the New Zealand defence allowed a Garriock free kick from her own half to bounce and Khamis nipped in to head over the advancing keeper.

Three minutes later, Alagich then showed why she has been such a great player for Australia over the years with a magnificent tackle to deny Kirsty Yallop who looked odds on to equalise.

The second half though saw few chances with Ferns captain Hayley Moorwood coming the closest with a fierce shot that went into the side-netting in the 52nd minute.

Caitlin Munoz had a half chance for the Matildas, but her shot from an acute angle went across the face.

"It was a great way to finish," said Alagich after the match. "I said to the girls before the match that I didn't want to lose this one and they came through for me.

"I thought I was going to be more emotional today, but I really enjoyed the match and everything finished on a good note.

"It was my time to finish. I wanted to go out at the top of my game and I was able to do that today," concluded Alagich.

Matildas coach Tom Sermanni was glowing in his praise of Alagich's contribution to women's football in Australia.

"Today was a vintage Di Alagich performance.

"She almost scored from a corner and made some terrific last grasp tackles to win things.

"I thought she played very well and to cap it off with a win was a most appropriate way to go out.

"I feel a great sense of pride to have been there at the start of her career and now to be here at the end I feel rather privileged with that.

In relation to the match, Sermanni was very pleased with the result.

"It was a tough game. We expected New Zealand to be up for this game and they are very well prepared going into the Olympics.

"They were obviously really determined to get a result out of us today and they keep pushing us to the limit.

"In the end I was happy to get the goal and come away with the win", concluded Sermanni.

Match Details

Matildas 1 (Leena Khamis 35-) New Zealand 0

Matildas line-up: Melissa Barbieri (gk) (Lydia Williams h/t); Kate McShea, Dianne Alagich (Kim Carroll 85-), Cheryl Salisbury (Brooke Spence 88-), Heather Garriock, Caitlin Munoz, Clare Polkinghorne, Kyah Simon (Leena Khamis 22-), Lauren Colthorpe, Danielle Small (Servet Uzunlar 59-), Joanne Burgess (Ellyse Perry 59-)

Subs not used: Karla Reuter, Amber Neilson, Victoria Balomenos, Jenna Tristram, Amy Chapman, Ellen Beaumont, Renee Rollason

Cautions: Carroll (87-)