The Young Matildas have claimed a 4-0 win over Malaysia in their opening match of the 2016 AFF Women’s Championship at the Mandalarthiri Stadium in Myanmar overnight.
Played in sweltering heat, which saw the mercury rise close to 40°C, the Aussies made a strong start to contest, carving out several chances in the opening exchanges.
Australia’s U-20 side were rewarded for their early endeavour when Corntee Vine got on the end of a cross from Princess Ibini in the 12th minute to open the scoring.
The pair again combined just before the break to double the Young Matildas’ advantage, after Grace Maher had hit the crossbar with an audacious shot from distance midway through the half.
Rising star Alex Chidiac, who made her senior Matildas debut as a 16-year-old last year, won a penalty on the hour mark and duly stepped up to take the spot-kick but saw her effort saved.
Instead it was Maher who extended Australia’s advantage in the shadows of full-time with another blistering long range effort finding the top corner.
Chidiac made amends for her earlier miss barely 60 seconds later when she dribbled past multiple defenders and slotted home with a minute left to complete the scoring.
Coach Craig Deans was pleased with his side’s ball retention and creativity despite the testing conditions but acknowledged there was still plenty of room for improvement.
“It was good to get the first game out of the way and get rid of the nerves,” said Deans.
“It was a pleasing result with lots of positives to take from the game.
“The game also gives us a good idea on the areas we need to improve before the next game against Timor Leste.
“We need to make sure that we put in a good performance in the second game if we want to go further in the tournament.”
The Young Matildas will play Timor Leste on Friday, who were beaten 17-0 by Myanmar in the other match of the Group B.
They then face the hosts in a match that looks set to decide who’ll top the standings.
The top two teams in each group will progress to the semi-finals with the winners to square off in the final on 4 August.
The AFF Women’s Championship is an open age tournament, however all 23 players in the Young Matildas squad are 19 years or younger.