Qantas Young Matildas Defeated By DPR Korea

The Qantas Young Matildas have been beaten 4-2 by DPR Korea in their semi final of the AFC U-19 Women’s Championship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Qantas Young Matildas have been beaten 4-2 by DPR Korea in their semi final of the AFC U-19 Women-s Championship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

They will now face Japan in the 3rd/4th play-off, with the winner of that game to also gain a berth at the FIFA U-20 Women-s World Championship in Russia later this year.

Australia was always playing catch up in the heavy conditions, with DPR Korea scoring twice in the opening 15 minutes, although Sasha McDonnell pulled a goal back before the break.

DPR made it 3-1 early in the second half, but Sally Shipard (pictured above) brought it back to 3-2 with 10 minutes remaining.

It was all Australia in the closing stages, but DPR hit on the break and made it 4-2 right on full time to advance to the final.

The match started late due to the late finish of the first semi final, which went all the way to penalties, with China advancing 5-3. It also started in a torrential downpour and DPR Korea took full advantage early.

After 6 minutes, Australian goalkeeper Lydia Williams was unable to hold a low skimming shot and the rebound fell nicely for S.H. Kim and she struck her shot home from close range.

Kim added a second goal after 15 minutes when she slid in to guide the ball home after a good cross in behind the Aussie defence. 2-0 down and a mountain to climb.

But climb back they did, as first Sasha McDonnell tested the DPR Korea on 22 minutes with a chip and then Servet Uzunlar had a shot tipped onto the crossbar a minute later.

Collette McCallum shaved the post from a free kick and Shipard had a 20-metre effort well saved by the keeper, as Australia started to dominate.

That dominance was rewarded in the 40th minute, when the impressive McDonnell pounced on a rebound from the DPR Keeper, who failed to hold onto McCallum-s free kick.

Olivia Kennedy almost made it level before the break, when stole the ball off the DPR defence and shot from an acute angle, the ball striking the post and just eluding McDonnell in front of goal.

Australia was looking to continue the momentum at the end of the first half at the start of the second half, but seven minutes in Ra scored with a diving header to give DPR a 3-1 run lead, against the run of play.

From then on it was pretty much Australia with all the possession, with DPR content to sit on the lead and stall at every opportunity. Shipard and substitute Caitlin Cooper went just wide with shots, while McCallum had a one-on-one opportunity saved by the keeper.

The DPR keeper then made another great save to deny McDonnell, but the pressure finally told in the 81st minute, when a brilliant team move was finished off by Shipard from 10 metres, to set up a grandstand finish.

Try as they might, the Aussies couldn-t find a way past the DPR keeper and in the last minute, DPR sealed the win with a rare foray forward in the second half, with Ra making no mistake from 10 metres.

A disappointed Alistair Edwards lamented the poor start, but said their was still a lot of positives to come out of the performance.

"We conceded two early goals during the torrential downpour and after that we played our way back into the game really well,” said Edwards. “Sasha (McDonnell) was electrifying upfront and caused them all sorts or problems.

“We had our chances to win the game hitting the woodwork three times as well as not taking three our four other chances that we would usually have converted."   "Not taking anything away from DPR Korea, they took their chances well, but we are all disappointed that we let this one slip. This is the first time that we have tasted defeat since our campaign started last year and although we could have done a few things a lot better tonight we will take a lot of positives out of the game.

"These type of tough competitive games is what being a part of the AFC is all about."  

They now face a tough match to qualify for the FIFA U-20 Women-s World Cup finals against Japan, who like Australia finished top of their group and were surprisingly beaten in their semi final by China. The game will kick-off at 5.00pm on Tuesday April 18 in Kuala Lumpur.

AFC U-19 Women's Championships Malaysia 2006

Saturday 15 April - 7.45pm kick-off Kuala Lumpur Stadium, Cheras    Conditions: 25oC, heavy rain (eased towards end of first half), pitch heavy & slippery   Australia 2 (Sasha McDonnell 40', Sally Shipard 81') DPR Korea 4

Australia line-up: Lydia Williams (gk); Clare Polkinghorne, Danielle Brogan (Victoria Balomenos 74-), Kim Carroll, Olivia Kennedy, Sally Shipard (c), Servet Uzunlar (Caitlin Cooper 57-), Sasha McDonnell, Kylie Ledbrook, Collette McCallum, Leena Khamis Subs Not used: Jenna Tristram, Alison Logue (gk), Amy Jackson, Grace Gill, Renee Cartwright, Nicole Somi, Leah Blayney   Cautions: Cooper (72-); Balomenos (77-); McDonnell (80-)