The Westfield Matildas have thrashed Hong Kong 4-0 in their second East Asian Cup qualifier.
The Westfield Matildas need only a draw from their final showdown against China PR to secure qualification for next year's EAFF Women's East Asian Cup after defeating Hong Kong 4-0 this evening.
Tameka Butt's first half header was added to by second half strikes from Kyah Simon, Katie Gill and Stephanie Catley as Australia recorded their second straight triumph en route to next year's regional showcase in the Korea Republic.
China PR's 2-0 win over Chinese Taipei later in the evening means the Westfield Matildas will progress to next year's tournament in the event of a draw between the two sides on Saturday, due to their superior goal difference.
It was difficult to gain some perspective for Australia's triumph, in that it came against an opponent content to retreat within its half and defend doggedly for ninety minutes.
Australia's territorial dominance and monopoly of possession was overwhelming throughout, with only the occasional precise delivery or touch in front of goal denying the Westfield Matildas a victory by a much greater margin.
Never the less, an experimental Australian side that featured seven players with ten caps or less will have gained much from a valuable Asian exercise that ultimately put the Westfield Matildas in sight of their first EAFF Women's East Asian Cup.
"It's was probably one of those frustrating little games tonight," said Westfield Matildas coach Tom Sermanni after the match.
"Hong Kong, to their credit, played with a lot of spirit, a lot of character.
"They basically parked eleven players twenty-five metres from their goal, blocked all and sundry that we through at them and defended as if their lives depended on it and did it very well.
"I think, from statistics, we had 83 crosses go into the penalty area, I don't know how many corners and how many times we hit the woodwork.
"It was the kind of game where we hoped to have scored more goals, but at the same time, the players did what we asked them to do.
"We created enough chances and unfortunately on the night there was lots and lots of red coloured bodies around the place to block things."
The Westfield Matildas knew what to expect from Hong Kong after witnessing their 6-0 loss to China PR on match day one.
On that occasion, Hong Kong frustrated the hosts for much of the match by virtue of an overly conservative formation that was intent on congesting the penalty area at every opportunity.
This forced a more direct approach from the Westfield Matildas than what Sermanni's charges have become known for and, frustratingly, it wasn't until the half hour mark that one of Australia's countless crosses bore fruit.
Brisbane Roar attacker Butt, one of eight changes to Australia's starting eleven, nodded home a neat delivery from Katrina-Lee Gorry to belatedly open the Westfield Matildas' account.
By the time of Simon's strike past the hour mark - her third goal of the tournament - Australia had mercilessly thrown raid after raid at the Hong Kong defence unsuccessfully.
Usually, the expert execution of outstanding left back Catley would provide the Westfield Matildas with their best chances, though it was an assist from substitute Collette McCallum that provided Gill with her third of the tournament and Australia's third of the match.
Catley, who last night was crowned Australia's Under-20 Female Footballer of the Year, capped a standout night with the goal of the evening in stoppage time.
The 18-year-old unleashed a dipping drive from some twenty metres that found the top corner and rounded out a second convincing Australian victory in this, the Westfield Matildas' first EAFF Women's East Asian Cup qualification campaign.
"I don't think there's any problem getting the players up for that game (against China PR) because the reward is a big one," said Sermanni.
"Playing against China PR in China PR is always a huge game and they're still one of the big powers in women's football.
"Going in to the game on Saturday, hopefully we'll be fresh, fit and healthy."
The Westfield Matildas' quest to qualify for the EAFF Women's East Asian Cup 2013 comes down to their final qualification fixture against China PR at Shenzhen Stadium on Saturday, 24 November. Kick off is at 3.45pm local time (6.45pm AEDT).
Westfield Matildas 4 (Butt 33', Simon 64', Gill 79', Catley 90'+1) Hong Kong 0
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