Matildas start Asian Cup with 4-0 win
The Matildas have kicked off their AFC Asian Women's Cup campaign with a comfortable 4-0 win over group underdog Chinese Taipei in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Australia have opened their campaign at the 2008 AFC Women's Asian Cup with a 4-0 win over Chinese Taipei in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, tonight.
A first half double from midfielder Heather Garriock set the Australians on their way, with striker Jenna Tristram and substitute Lisa De Vanna rounding out the scoring with goals either end of the second half.
The match commenced in extreme humidity before a torrential downpour midway through the first half saw water remain pooled on the pitch throughout the second period making passing and ball control impossible at times.
"I'm very pleased with the result and particularly so given the circumstances in which the match was played," said Australian coach Tom Sermanni.
"Chinese Taipei were very well organised defensively and made life difficult for us but our team adapted well."
"Once the rain came it made playing football impossible but without doubt the players performed admirably in very trying conditions. We fielded quite a young team tonight but they were very solid throughout and helped us get off to a strong start in this tournament."
Key midfielder Garriock back from a successful stint in Denmark set the tone early with a strike across the face of goal with Amber Neilson playing a perfect pass to set up the chance.
Chinese Taipei also showed some early endeavour and Hsiu-Chin Yu powered a far post header wide from a right-sided corner.
Caitlin Munoz looked likely to open the scoring when she beat the advancing goalkeeper to a Garriock through ball but the Canberran drove her shot narrowly wide.
Despite missing some early chances Australia's first goal was worth the wait with a length of the field move impressing onlookers. An interchange of passes saw Ellyse Perry released on the right and her cross was too hot for the goalkeeper who spilt the ball under pressure from Munoz allowing Garriock to sweep home from 15 yards.
Australia looked to have doubled their lead just a minute later but Tristram's close range finish following in a Kyah Simon shot was denied by the assistant referee's flag.
Tristram then headed narrowly wide and Lauren Colthorpe's goalbound looping header was impressively cleared off the line by a recovering defender.
With Australia dominating both possession and goalscoring opportunities in the early stages, the complexion of the game was changed when a lengthy and torrential tropical downpour made playing the ball along the ground near impossible.
The rain increased as the half wore on but Australia still created openings in front of goal with Tristram hitting the cross bar with a header and then Perry's superb long range strike testing the Chinese Taipei goalkeeper.
Four minutes before the interval, Australia increased their lead with Colthorpe played a smart pass into the penalty area behind the defence for Garriock to finish cooly.
Puddles of water on the pitch greeted the players as they entered the arena for the second half and Australia had an early nervous moment when confusion between acting skipper Kate McShea and goalkeeper Lydia Williams saw Wen-Lin Tan hit the side netting from an angled shot with only retreating defenders to beat.
Tristram finally got the goal she was striving for, her first for the Matildas, when she scored past an exposed Feng-Chiu Huang in goal after a neat flick-on from Munoz. Tristram nearly made it two in two minutes but Huang blocked the shot.
Strike partner Simon then got into the action showing good technique to crack a powerful shot on target from an awkward angle, and then nearly scored after a richochet from the goalkeeper moments later.
The scoring was rounded out with Tristram then turning provider for De Vanna who had come off the bench mid-way through the second half. The Swedish based De Vanna scoring comfortably after outpacing the defence.
A battling Chinese Taipei side were nearly rewarded with a late consolation goal but Hsiang-Wei Wang's long range shot struck the frame of the goal.
In the first upset of the tournament Korea Republic defeated Japan 3-1 in the latter match.
Australia now meet Korea Republic on Saturday at 10.30pm (AEST), with the final group game against Japan on Monday also at 8pm (AEST).
Australia 4 (Heather Garriock 18', 41', Jenna Tristram 52', Lisa De Vanna 82-)
Chinese Taipei 0
Australian line-up: Lydia Williams (gk); Ellyse Perry (Clare Polkinghorne 65'), Kim Carroll, Kate McShea, Karla Reuter, Lauren Colthorpe, Amber Neilson, Heather Garriock (Tameka Butt h/t), Kyah Simon, Jenna Tristram, Caitlin Munoz (Lisa De Vanna 63').
Referee: Hong Sil Ri (DPR Korea)