Matildas suffer 2-0 defeat to DPR Korea

The Matildas have suffered a 2-0 defeat to DPR Korea tonight, in what is a blow to their chances of qualifying for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

The Matildas have suffered a 2-0 defeat to DPR Korea tonight, in what is a blow to their chances of qualifying for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Level on points going into the match, DPR now hold a distinct advantage going into the return leg of their group match meetings next weekend in Coffs Harbour. Only the winner of the group will progress to the Olympic Games next year.

Backed by a capacity crowd of over 30,000 people, both goals were scored by DPR captain Ri Kum Suk, coming either side of half time, with the second coming from the penalty spot in the 55th minute.

Matildas coach Tom Sermanni had no complaints with the result and was encouraged by the way the players battled and with the chances created towards the end of the game.

“I can't complain about result in what was a hostile environment,” Sermanni said straight after the match. “We needed to battle away and we did very well at that for most of the game.

“The turning point was the penalty 10 minutes into the second half, but we finished the game encouragingly and had a couple of good chances near the end.

“We now have to regroup and get organised for next week; lets hope we can try and create a similar environment back in Coffs Harbour as they created here.”

DPR had the better of the first half, controlling possession and putting pressure on the Matildas defence.

In the 20th minute, Melissa Barbieri made a great save to deny DPR with a close header, while another free kick was also close in the 31st minute.

The pressure told in the 35th minute, when Suk was able to turn on the edge of the box and slotted her shot past Barbieri.

However the turning point of the match came ten minutes after half time, when a scramble in the box, saw DPR awarded a penalty for a handball, although the Australian players were incensed that a DPR player had handled the ball first.

Suk made no mistake slotting home low to Barbieri-s left.

It was almost 3-0 two minutes later, when a looping shot hit the crossbar.

The last 20 minutes saw Australia rally, with substitutes Lisa De Vanna and Sarah Walsh causing problems by running at the DPR defence.

In the 69th minute, Collette McCallum almost saw her free kick into the box, diverted into the net by a DPR player.

De Vanna had a great chance to pull a goal back in the 78th minute, when chased down a ball over the top, but DPR came out and blocked near edge of box.

It was all Australia in the final 10 minutes, with the DPR keeper fumbling several shots, but luckily for her nothing came of them.

The final chance fell to Australian captain Cheryl Salisbury, but under pressure was unable to divert her header from a McCallum cross down and it sailed over the bar.

Match Details

DPR Korea 2 (Ri Kum Suk 35-/55- pen) Matildas 0

Australian line-up: Melissa Barbieri (gk); Di Alagich, Kate McShea, Cheryl Salisbury, Heather Garriock, Clare Polkinghorne (Sarah Walsh h/t), Collette McCallum, Sally Shipard, Joey Peters, Jo Burgess (Lisa De Vanna 59-), Kate Gill (Alicia Ferguson 81-)

Cautions: Garriock (51-)