Matildas run riot against Vietnam; Japan held by South Korea

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Australia’s Matildas picked up their first win at the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup on Tuesday after cruising to an 8-0 triumph over Vietnam in Group B.

It took the Matildas just eight minutes to open the scoring when Kyah Simon was left with a simple finish after Samantha Kerr unselfishly squared the ball into her path, before Alanna Kennedy doubled their lead with a header from a corner in the 18th minute.

Chloe Logarzo made it 3-0 three minutes later after capitalising on a mistake by Khong Thi Hang and Emily Egmond was next to get in on the act two minutes before the half-hour mark, beating the offside trap and rounding the Vietnam keeper to score.

Few would have been expecting any other than such a one-sided encounter and, instead, the surprise was that it took reigning Asian Women’s Footballer of the Year Kerr until a minute before halftime to net her first goal of the tournament.

Finding space between two opposition defenders, the 24-year-old did well to meet Kennedy’s left-wing delivery with a deft header into the bottom corner.

However, having finally opened her account, Kerr needed just six minutes of the second half to double her tally with a clinical left-footed finish on the swivel after being set up once again by Kennedy in similar fashion.

As if Vietnam’s night could not get any worse, they handed the Matildas a seventh goal in comical fashion in the 71st minute, as Nguyen Thi Lieu sent a clearance inside the six-yard box straight into Nguyen Thi Tuyet Dung to hand the latter an own-goal.

And, four minutes later, the rout was completed with Hayley Raso getting in on the act with a close-range strike after excellent work down the left by Alexandra Chidiac.

In Group B’s other match, defending champions Japan played out a 0-0 draw with Korea Republic.

As things stand, Australia and Japan are currently tied on four points at the summit with the Matildas ahead on goal difference, and victory for either in their duel on Friday would guarantee a top-spot finish.

However, having done well to hold both the Australians and Japanese to a goalless stalemate in their opening two games, the South Koreans have given themselves every chance of breaking into the top two and sealing a semi-final berth as they meet struggling Vietnam in their final Group B tie.