On a fast and slippery playing field, the Westfield National U17 Women’s Team suffered their second consecutive loss at the AFC U16 Championships being held in Nanjing, China. Despite yet another gusty performance by Australia, host nation China PR were never seriously challenged, eventual winners 3-0.
On a fast and slippery playing field, the Westfield National U17 Women-s Team suffered their second consecutive loss at the AFC U16 Championships being held in Nanjing, China. Despite yet another gusty performance by Australia, host nation China PR were never seriously challenged, eventual winners 3-0.
The Chinese, fielding a strong and solid line up, showed they meant business, with their first attempt at goal coming in the 25th second mark, only narrowly missing the target after a crafty piece of work from Liu Yanqiu down China-s left hand side. Continually pressing forward, it was evident China-s tactics were to attack from the beginning and apply as much pressure on the Australian-s as possible.
The first half was played at an electrifying pace, with both teams attacking well. In the 11th minute, China-s Lu Yueyun played a beautiful through ball to Wang Yaping, who broke free from the Australian defence and was well on her way to towards Penelope Edmonds goal only to be denied by a last grasp sliding tackle from recovering defender, Elizabeth Ralston. Seven minutes later, China was on the attack again and almost hit the lead from a blistering 25 yard shot from Song Duan. Out of nowhere, Edmonds dived to her right and was able to get a strong hand to push the ball away for a corner. From the resulting corner kick, came the match breaker, China was awarded a questionable penalty for what was deemed to be a handball by Emma Checker. The referee with no hesitation pointed directly to the spot and awarded Checker a yellow card, Australia-s first for the championships. Up stepped China-s Song Yuqing, who powerfully placed the ball into the back of the net, despite Australia-s goalkeeper Edmonds guessing the correct way.
Australia-s mission became even more difficult when China went two up in the 27th minute. A clever through ball by Liu Yanqiu fell into the path of Song Duan who was through on goal with only Edmonds to beat. Direct from the resulting kick off, the Westfield National U17 Women pushed forward with the ball and should have been awarded a penalty in the 28th minute after Amy Harrison was tripped in the box, though the referee called play on, much to the disbelief of the Australian bench.
In the 42nd minute, Australia won their first corner for the match, after some text book football was displayed down the left flank. The first half saw some slick passing by the Chinese, who apparently have been living together as a team for the past 12 months and training twice a day. At half time, Australia made their first substitute for the match, with Meg McLaughlin being replaced by Julia Sardo.
With everything to play for, Australia entered the second half with confidence and determination, but almost found themselves down a third when in the 53rd minute, China advanced into their attacking 18 yard box only to have the ball cleared off the line by Checker. Matters worsened in the 55th minute when a moment of football brilliance tore open Australia-s defence, after a series of one-two short, precise passes made way for Song Duan to fire home China-s third. The Chinese almost extended their lead to four seven minutes later, only to be denied by the consistent goalkeeping heroics of Edmonds. Edmonds saved from close range after a long ball was played on the counter attack to a onside Li Mengwen.
With Australia not creating any regular goalscoring opportunities, in the 69th minute, Westfield National U17 Women-s Coach Vicki Linton introduced Allison Clarke in place of Amy Harrison in attempt to deliver greater firing power upfront, while also bringing on Adriana Jones for Natalie Tobin six minutes later. The final 15 minutes saw both teams continue with the fast tempo of the game, however, neither side could create any clear cut chances. The game ended with China collecting the three points and holding onto top spot in the group.
Monday 07 November will see the Westfield National U17 Women-s team front up against a confident DPR Korea who disposed of their rivals Korea Republic 4-0 in tonight-s other group game, while earlier during the day, Japan made a mess of Thailand, thrashing them 10-0.