Sam Kerr magic puts Matildas into WAC semifinals along with Japan

Kelvin Leong Kelvin Leong

Japan and Australia go through from Group B of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup while Korea Republic finished third as Vietnam crash out.

Australia claimed a last-gasp 1-1 draw against Japan to finish top of Group B in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup on Friday.

In what was an evenly contested game, it took a 63rd minute goal from Mizuho Sakaguchi to liven up proceedings.

Yui Hasegawa provided the assist to allow Sakaguchi to fire in a left-footed shot to give Japan the lead.

Just when it looked like the Matildas were headed for a third-place playoff, star forward Samantha Kerr rifled in a sublime left-foot shot with four minutes left on the clock to send her country into the final four of the tournament.

 

In the other match of the night, a gutsy Vietnam team were outclassed by Korea Republic who cruised to a 4-0 victory in comfortable fashion.

Cho Su-Hyun opened the scoring in the 14th minute before Lee Geum-Min made it 2-0 on 38 minutes. Lee Mi-na’s brace in the 49th and 73rd minute capped off a solid performance by the Koreans.

The Koreans were left to rue their luck when news of Kerr’s late equaliser for Australia filtered through at the end of the game as they had to settle for third place.

With the conclusion of the group stages, Japan, Australia, China PR and Thailand are the four teams who have qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Korea Republic and the Philippines will battle it out on Monday, April 16 to decide who will join the quartet at next year’s showpiece event.

Group A winners China PR will take on defending champions Japan in the first semifinal on April 17 while Australia face off against Thailand on the same day to decide who goes through to the final.

 

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