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.
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