Gary van Egmond’s Westfield Young Matildas got their 2017 AFC U-19 Women’s Championship campaign off to a solid start on Monday, defeating Korea Republic 2-0 in Nanjing, China.
After a scoreless first half, goals to Sydney FC’s Westfield W-League duo Remy Siemsen and Princess Ibini helped the Young Matildas seal a first up win over one of their three Group B rivals.
The match at the Jiangsu Training Base Stadium was played in persistent rain, and while Korea Republic enjoyed some good opportunities to open the scoring in the first 45, fine goalkeeping from Western Sydney Wanderers FC’s Westfield W-League custodian Jada Mathyssen helped the Young Matildas enter the break with a clean sheet to their credit.
Mathyssen made another fine stop shortly after the resumption of play, before Australia took charge of the match. Siemsen fired home after Korea Republic goalkeeper Kim Yealin spilled an Alex Chidiac strike in the 70th minute, before Ibini – the sister of former Hyundai A-League star Bernie Ibini – guaranteed the win for the Young Matildas in the fourth minute of time added on with a superb effort from outside the area.
Winning on matchday 1 has helped put the Westfield Young Matildas in a strong position to advance from Group B later in the tournament.
Australia will play one of Asia’s top teams, Japan, on Thursday (19 October), before rounding out the pool stage against Vietnam on Sunday (22 October).
A top two finish in Group B will allow Australia to advance to the semi-final stage of the competition, which will guarantee that van Egmond’s charges have the chance to qualify for next year’s FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in France.
The top three teams at the 2017 AFC U19 Women’s Championship will advance to the 2018 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in France as Asia’s representatives.