Matildas Find the Net Late to Salvage Draw Against China

01/06/2024
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Matildas Olympic Tune-up Against China Ends in 1-1 Draw

Matildas put forth uninspiring effort in first of two friendlies against China, escaping with a 1-1 tie in Adelaide

News Insights

  • Michelle Heyman scores late equalizer.
  • Substitutes turn the match around.
  • Caitlin Foord leaves game with hamstring injury.
  • Matildas dominate second half after lacklustre opening frame.

The Matildas played in front of a home crowd at the Adelaide Oval last night hoping to give the fans something to cheer for against China. They ended up with a draw, but their play and the way they got that result leave question marks for the squad.  

Opening Half a Disaster for the Matildas 

The Matildas entered Adelaide Oval in front of nearly 53,000 last night for their first of two friendlies against China in the lead up to the Paris 2024 Olympics.  
 
When it came time for kick off fans were undoubtedly expecting to see their Matildas come out with the blazing speed and attacking fortitude that they are accustomed to. However, this was not the case.  
 
The Chinese press and subsequent mid block was well organized and aggressive. Though the Matildas controlled much of the possession in the opening minutes, they were largely unable to advance the ball past half.  
 
This trend continued for some time, as the Matildas worked their way down the pitch a couple of times but were unable to get on the end of crosses or gave up possession in the buildup. 
 
China ended up finding the first shot of the game as Wang Shuang curled a shot wide from the edge of the box. 
 
Australia quickly got back to their possession play but couldn’t make anything of it as the Chinese defenders were quickly collapsing on the likes of Mary Fowler and Cortnee Vine.  
 
Then came the crowd silencer from China. Wurigumula worked her way down the right and swung a cross into Zhang Linyan who made poor contact but just enough to creep the ball past Mackenzie Arnold for a 1-0 lead.  
 
The scoreline would stay as such for the rest of the half, with the Matildas heading to the dressing room down one and having been completely stifled by their opponents.  

Late Equalizer Salvages the Match 

The second half began and didn’t look much improved from the first for the Matildas. They lacked creativity in the midfield and from their back end to get the ball to Vine and Fowler in advantageous positions.  
 
China continued with their gameplan as it worked brilliantly in the opening 45 minutes. They played a tight defensive shell, pressuring the ball and closing down passing lanes while looking dangerous on counter attacks. 
 
The Matildas finally got a quality chance in the 55th minute as Kaitlyn Torpey worked her way down the wing and sent a ball to the back post for Mary Fowler who was unable to one touch the pass and once she was able to get a shot off, the Chinese keeper was there.  
 
This, along with five first-team substitutions at the 62-minute mark brought the Matildas to life.  
 
The press from China was forced back as they were now playing a heavily conservative defensive shell and the Matildas were threatening up field constantly with their possession.  
 
They experienced a tough set back in the 76th minute with Caitlin Foord being forced off with a hamstring injury just 15 minutes after coming on.  
 
The Matildas kept pressing but were running out of time, unable to find that final touch to tie the game despite dominating the ball in their opponents third.  
 
Five minutes of injury time was added, and the Matildas used every bit of it.  
 
A mistake by the Chinese keeper gave the Matildas a free kick right outside the box in the 95th minute. Mary Fowler striped the ball on goal and Xu Huan couldn’t handle it, as the ball bounced to Michelle Heyman who put it in the back of the net.  
 
Though certainly not the showing or result fans and players alike would have wanted, the Matildas showed heart till the very end and were rewarded with the late equalizer.  

The Matildas were able to escape the first of two friendlies against China with a draw thanks to an equalizer in the last minute of injury time. The quality of play was not up to standard for the Aussies as they inch closer to the Olympics with expectations high. 

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