Australia suffer first Asian Cup defeat
The Westfield Matildas lose but they've already progressed to the semis.
The Westfield Matildas have suffered their first loss of the AFC Women-s Asian Cup today going down 1-nil to China.
The Australian-s braved scorching temperatures and a fiercely competitive home side who needed the win to ensure progress to the semi-finals.
China midfielder Zhang Rui scored the only goal of the match in the 9th minute when she cut inside the box to place her shot past Westfield Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams.
Australia, who had already qualified for the semi-finals, began the match with 10 changes from the side that beat Korea Republic on Friday with veteran Westfield Matilda Heather Garriock the only player to remain in the starting line-up.
The Westfield Matildas suffered an early scare when China-s Xu Yuan found herself unmarked following a misdirected clearance but her quickly taken shot was guided over the crossbar.
In the 9th minute a slip in the area by Aivi Luik on the gravel laden Chengdu Sports Center pitch gave China-s Zhang Rui enough time to pick her spot and slot the ball past Williams for China-s goal.
China dominated first half proceedings but Australia continued their hard work and found themselves in several goal scoring situations with China-s goalkeeper Zhang Yanru protecting China-s small lead exceptionally.
Luik played in a perfectly guided throughball down the right line for Sarah Walsh who, clear from her defender, put in a teasing cross that only just beat an on-rushing Leena Khamis.
On 2w2 minutes some wonderful passing play between Xu Yuan and Han Duan saw the latter flick the ball through to Sun Ling for a shot that Williams superbly tipped over the bar.
Luik continued to link up well with Walsh again down the right creating excitement for the small but energetic group of Australian supporters.
China-s Duan hit a 20-yard strike in the 24th minute with Williams pulling off the stop of the match with the ball destined for the top corner.
Westfield Matildas Head Coach Tom Sermanni sensing trouble reverted Australia to a 4-4-2 formation in an attempt to steady the Westfield Matildas defensive stocks.
The remainder of the second half was bogged down in a midfield battle with Australia looking a lot safer in defense and dangerous in attack.
The second half began with Khamis and Heather Garriock playing their way into the Chinese box but Khamis-s strike was easily saved by China keeper Yanru.
Lisa De Vanna came on early in the second half for Sarah Walsh and was immediately in the action when Garriock and Khamis were involved in some good work on left but De Vanna couldn-t get on the end of the searching ball in for what would have been a simple tap home.
Soon after a challenge on the China keeper Yanru saw De Vanna immediately call for treatment with the Australian striker stretchered from the field with what was later confirmed as a broken leg.
The remainder of the second half saw Australia build in confidence with Sam Kerr and Collette McCallum looking dangerous for the Westfield Matildas.
Australia pushed hard for a late goal that would have seen them top Group B but were denied by the fantastic Yanru.
The Westfield Matildas play either DPR Korea or Japan in their semi-final on Thursday at 6pm AEST, live and exclusive on ABC 2.
In-form Vukovic earns Genk contract extension
Caltex Socceroos goalkeeper Danny Vukovic has been rewarded for his excellent form with a two-season contract extension at Belgian club KRC Genk. The 33-year-old's deal was due to expire at the end of the campaign but the Pro League leaders have taken up their option to extend
Aussies Abroad: Vukovic’s Genk beaten in battle of Belgium’s top two
Danny Vukovic’s Genk remain well clear on top of the table despite falling to a rare defeat in Belgium against Club Brugge overnight. In a meeting of the competition’s top two at the Jan Breydel Stadion, Genk were beaten the fired-up home side, going down 3-1. There was lit
Aussies Abroad: Ryan’s Brighton through to Quarter-Finals while Milligan, Giannou pick up strong results
There were a handful of Caltex Socceroos in action on Sunday morning (AEDT) while some key figures were rested as their clubs negotiated cup ties. Firstly to Europe where Mark Milligan played a full 90 at the heart of Hibernian’s midfield as they welcomed new manager Danny Hec
Aussies Abroad: Luongo gallant in Watford defeat
Caltex Socceroos midfielder Massimo Luongo can turn his attention to the EFLChampionship after QPR crashed out of the FA Cup on Saturday morning (AEDT). The 26-year-old played the full 90 minutes in QPR’s 1-0 loss to Watford at Loftus Road, in a tight game where each side cou