Salisbury secures dramatic quarter final spot

Matildas captain Cheryl Salisbury has scored a dramatic last minute goal to send Australia through to the quarter finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, after a titanic struggle in Chengdu that ended 2-2 against Canada.

Matildas captain Cheryl Salisbury has scored a dramatic last minute goal to send Australia through to the quarter finals of the FIFA Women-s World Cup, after a titanic struggle in Chengdu that ended 2-2 against Canada.

It looked as though the Matildas were going to bow out of the tournament when Salisbury-s Canadian counterpart Christine Sinclair headed home with seven minutes left to play, but Salisbury bobbed up to shoot home and bring the scores together at two apiece.

The dramatic equaliser was brilliantly set up by Lisa De Vanna, who jinked and turned and forced the ball to Salisbury, who scuffed her shot but did enough to see the ball go into the back of the net.

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Earlier, Collette McCallum scored a magnificent goal from a free kick to draw Australia level in the 53rd minute. Her shot from just outside the edge of the area, was hit perfectly over the wall and gave keeper Erin McLeod no chance.

Two minutes later, the dangerous Sarah Walsh was dangerously close to making it 2-1 after getting on the end of a De Vanna run, but her shot went agonisingly across the face of goal, which typified her night in front of goal.

The momentum should have been with Australia, but the searing conditions seemed to effect the Matildas as their play became erratic, continually turning over possession in their own half and reverting to too many long balls that played into the Canadians hands.

And they were made to pay with seven minutes of normal time remaining when a corner was played to far post; was headed back into the six-yard box and Sinclair was on hand to head home from a metre out.

Heather Garriock should have brought the scores level a minute into injury time when she was free six metres out, but spooned her shot over the bar.

But Australia-s late desperation was rewarded with Salisbury, who later named Player of the Match, in the right place at the right time to bobble the ball home.

Canada had earlier stunned Australia by taking the lead with just 30 seconds of the match being played. An innocuous flicked on header found Melissa Tancredi on the edge of the penalty box. The Australian defenders gave her too much room and she had time to turn and volley a superb shot over Melissa Barbeiri.

Caitlin Munoz was close to equalizing in the 5th minute when a Collette McCallum corner found her at the back post; her header going just over the bar.

Munoz was again in the action two minutes later, when a stinging shot forced a good save from McLeod; Walsh picked up the rebound and played it back to Munoz, whose shot this time was easily held by McLeod.

Canada almost went two up when Kara Lang-s cross hit the top of the crossbar and after the Matildas failed to clear, Tancredi was left but snapped her volley over the bar.

Walsh was inches away from equalizing in the 32nd minute, when she got free into the box and her shot was just touched by McLeod; the ball hit the post and bounced away.

Walsh again denied by McLeod two minutes later with a terrific block from close range and the rebound was flashed across the face of goal by McCallum.

It was all one-way traffic by this stage, with Australia-s possession game forcing the Canadians back and earning a series of corners. McCallum almost scored from one of these corners but was denied by finger-tip save by McLeod.

Peters almost finished some brilliant football by Australia in the dying minutes of the half, with a long range shot that was just inches away from the far post.

Australia now meet the winner of Group D on Sunday at 8pm (10pm AEST) on Sunday in Tianjin. The Group D winner will be decided later tonight with Brazil currently in top spot ahead of Denmark and China.

Match Details

Australia 2 (Collette McCallum 53-, Cheryl Salisbury 93-+) Canada 2 (Tancredi 1-, Sinclair 83-)

Australian line-up: Melissa Barbieri (gk); Kate McShea, Di Alagich, Cheryl Salisbury, Heather Garriock, Caitlin Munoz (Jo Burgess 63-), Sarah Walsh, Jo Peters (Alicia Ferguson 76-), Collette McCallum, Sally Shipard, Lauren Colthorpe (Lisa De Vanna h/t) Subs Not Used: Rhian Davies, Kate Gill, Thea Slatyer, Danielle Small, Lydia Williams (gk), Clare Polkinghorne, Emma Wirkus (gk)

Cautions: McCallum (90-) Expulsions: Nil Referee: Gyoengyi Gaal (HUN)