Salisbury says farewell with a goal

It wasn't quite the perfect farewell for outgoing Westfield Matildas captain Cheryl Salisbury, but she ended her international career how she started it, scoring a goal in the 2-2 with Italy at Parramatta Stadium.

It wasn't quite the perfect farewell for outgoing Westfield Matildas captain Cheryl Salisbury, but she ended her international career how she started it, scoring a goal in the 2-2 with Italy at Parramatta Stadium.

Salisbury converted a 65th minute penalty to put Australia in the lead, but a dogged Italy scored a deserved equaliser with 12 minutes remaining.

After 151 appearances, Salisbury bowed out of international football in the 84th minute, to a standing ovation from everyone in the ground and with a tear or two in the eye as she received hugs from teammates and officials.

After a fairly stale first half played in oppressive heat, which saw neither side score, the second half opened up with all four goals scored.

It was a cautious start by both sides with the Italians showing some nice touches, while Australia was looking to hit on the break with the pace of Lisa De Vanna.

De Vanna set up the first real chance of the match in the 15th minute, winning a 50/50 tackle; going past the keeper in the box; but her cross from the by-line aimed for an unmarked Katie Gill, was blocked away for a corner.

From the corner, Gill had a header at goal, which the Italian keeper failed to collect, but fortunately for her was cleared away.

Melania Gabbiadini was proving a handful for the Australian defence and she went close in the 18th minute, shooting just over the bar from 15 metres.

Gill then went the closest to opening the scoring after 26 minutes, turning her marker in the box and shooting against the bar.

Gabbiadini did likewise in the 41st minute, her turn and shot from 20 metres, hitting the top of the crossbar.

Italy opened the second half strongly with Gabbiandini denied by Melissa Barbieri and Roberta D'Adda shooting across the face of goal in the opening eight minutes.

But as she so often does, De Vanna changed the course of the game when she scored a brilliant individual goal to set Australia on their way.

A brilliant dummy over the ball on the right, allowed her skip clear on the right and cut back inside and onto her left foot and from just inside the penalty box, curled a delightful shot that glanced off the near post and into the back of the net.

Italy equalised three minutes later, Pamela Conti capitalising on a poor touch by Kate McShea to nip and steal the ball, beat the challenge of McShea and Lauren Colthorpe and then slot ball underneath the advancing Barbieri.

De Vanna almost scored goal number two with a shot just over the bar from a Gill pass, while Gill headed wide of the post from an Elise Kellond-Knights cross, with the goal at her mercy.

Australia's pressure paid off when substitute Sarah Walsh was brought down in the box by Italian keeper Chiara Marchitelli and a penalty awarded. There was onlyu ever going to be playing taking the kick and Salisbury made no mistake from the spot for goal number 39 of her illustrious career.

But to Italy's credit they kept coming and levelled it up again in the 78th minute, when Australia failed to clear effectively from a corner and Alessia Tuttino hit a magnificently struck shot. Barbieri, at full stretch, got a hand to it, but couldn't prevent from hitting the underside of the bar and going in.

With only a few minutes to play, Salisbury's international career finished and in a fairly poignant moment and real changing of the guard, Australia's most capped player was replaced by Danielle Brogan, who was making her international debut.

The match petered with neither side threatening a winning goal.

“The game in general was good. However, we would have liked to come out of it with a win,” said head coach, Tom Sermanni.

“From a crowd perspective, it was a thoroughly entertaining match and in the end, a fair result.

“Of course this match was also significant for us with the passing of an era in Cheryl-s last game at international level. It was a fitting send off in front of a passionate home ground,” concluded Sermanni.

The next match in the two-match series will take place on 7 February at Canberra Stadium with kick-off at 4.00pm AEDT. Tickets available from Ticketek.

Match Details

Australia 2 (Lisa De Vanna 55-, Cheryl Salisbury 65- pen) Italy 2 (Pamela Conti 58-, Alessia Tuttino 78-)

Parramatta Stadium Crowd: 2,921 Saturday 31 January 2009

Referee: Jacqui Melksham Assistant Referees: Sarah Ho, Airlie Keen Fourth official: Kirralee Gardener

Australia line-up: 1.Melissa BARBIERI (gk), 2.Kate McSHEA, 3.Karla REUTER, 4.Claire POLKINGHORNE (14.Collette McCALLUM 56-), 5.Cheryl SALISBURY (c) (19.Danielle BROGAN 85-), 6.Amber NEILSON (17.Lana HARCH 79), 8.Caitlin MUNOZ (9.Sarah WALSH 56-), 11.Lisa DE VANNA, 12.Katie GILL, 16.Lauren COLTHORPE, 20.Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT (7.Heather GARRIOCK 12-)

Substitutes not used: 13.Tameka BUTT, 18.Lydia WILLIAMS (gk), 22.Ellie BRUSH

Yellow cards: Cheryl Salisbury 45- Red cards: Nil

Italy line-up: 1.Chiara MARCHITELLI (gk), 2.Sara GAMA, 3.Roberta D-ADDA, 4.Alessia TUTTINO, 5.Elizabetta TONA, 6.Viviana SCHIAVI, 8.Melania GABBIADINI (19.Marta CARISSIMI 83-), 9.Patrizia PANICO (c), 10.Tatiana ZORRI, 18.Pamela CONTI (11.Silvia FUSELLI 71-), 20.Giulia DOMENICHETTI

Substitutes not used: 7.Venusia PALIOTTI, 12.Anna Maria PICARELLI (gk), 13.Giorgia MOTTA, 14.Ilaria MAURO, 16.Laura NEBOLI, 22.Sara PENZO (gk)

Yellow cards: Chiara Marchitelli 65- Red cards: Nil