August 1, 2021

CSGO

Next Level Game Over

Matildas vs New Zealand, score, updates, start time, teams, result, Australian women, Sam Kerr


The Matildas entered the Tokyo Olympics winless in five games under new manager Tony Gustavsson, but they kickstarted their medal campaign with a disciplined and impressive 2-1 win over New Zealand.

Superstar captain Sam Kerr led an attacking masterclass – ending a personal goal drought in the process – as she set up the first goal for Tameka Yallop then scored herself just after half an hour.

“Like I said, everything was for this moment. We feel as prepared as ever,” Kerr told Channel 7 after the match.

“The results before didn’t go our way, but it was all for this game, and we got the three points, and we won,”

The Matildas had a host of chances to extend their lead, but were denied in large part due to an impressive performance from NZ keeper Erin Nayler.

Then in stoppage time, a defensive lapse saw New Zealand pull a goal back through a header from substitute Gabi Rennie and ensure a nervy final two minutes.

But the Australians held on for a victory that could prove crucial, with the Matildas also set to face Sweden and the USA in the toughest group in the competition.

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Despite being a global power in women’s football in recent years, the Australian women’s team is still chasing a first Olympic medal having been knocked out in the quarter-finals by Brazil in 2016.

And lumped in an extremely difficult group also featuring heavyweights Sweden and the United States, the opening clash against NZ loomed as a must-win clash for the ninth-ranked Matildas.

The pace was frenetic in the opening 15 minutes, with both teams attempting to press high in defence. The Australians established the upper hand after the opening exchanges, with four corners and a host of half-chances in the opening 20 minutes.

The Matildas’ offensive bombardment paid dividends on the brink of 20 minutes, as the Matildas forced a turnover as the NZ side attempted to play the ball out of the back.

30-year-old Tameka Yallop intercepted a pass, and continued to charge forward as Sam Kerr placed a delightful first-time pass into the box.

The ball played Yallop through on goal and she made no mistake to break the deadlock with a powerful drive.

The attacking onslaught continued as Sam Kerr powerfully headed home from a Steph Catley corner in the 34th minute, ending a five-game drought without a goal for the superstar striker.

Kerr leapt into the air at the near post and rocketed it onto the crossbar and down into the goal.

Sam Kerr doubled the difference.Source: Getty Images

The Australians managed seven shots in the first half and kept New Zealand to none.

Just one minute into the second half, Kyah Simon was played through into the box on a one-on-one opportunity, but she poked the ball straight at the keeper.

Kerr was on a tear, and nearly pulled off a spectacular backheel from inside the six-yard box as young superstar Ellie Carpenter burst down the sideline and sent in a nearly inch-perfect pass.

The corners and shot tally kept racking up, and Caitlin Foord should have found the net before the hour mark when yet another Catley cross found her at the back post, but her header was superbly saved by goalkeeper Erin Nayler.

There was an extremely nervous moment for Australia’s own glovewoman Lydia Williams as she rushed out to collect a through ball, but panicked on the edge of her box and misjudged her positioning. She was beaten to the ball but was lucky to avoid punishment as Ellie Carpenter intercepted the resulting cross.

Nayler made another sublime stop as Kyah Simon was fed into the box with 18 minutes remaining.

New Zealand’s goalkeeper Erin Nayler (Bottom) put on a masterclass.Source: AFP

Teen talents Kyra Cooney-Cross & Mary Fowler were brought onto the park with 15 minutes to spare.

The Matildas remained in control until the dying seconds of the game, when a defensive lapse cost the green and gold side. Aivi Luik was caught between two attackers inside the Australian box, and her marking error saw a cross headed back across the face of goal by Ria Percival. Substitute Gabi Rennie then flicked a header into the back of the net, ensuring a nervy finish to the match.

The Matildas drew plaudits before the match kicked off, as they lined up for team photos carrying the Aboriginal flag instead of Australia’s flag. It came after NZ players knelt in support of the battle against racism.

“We’re very proud of [the statement],” said Sam Kerr.

“We spoke a lot about it as a team. We wanted to do something that was important to us and show unity within our group.

“We didn’t want to do something that goes along with the grain, we wanted to do something that was relevant for our country.

“We want to do Australia proud and hopefully we did that tonight. Everyone at home, we feel your love, hopefully you’re out of quarantine soon.”

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