Nash and Murphy On Top As Young Matildas Kickstart Their Asian Cup Campaign

The Commbank Young Matildas have come from behind to defeat Korea Republic 2-1 in the opening game of the AFC U20 Women’s Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2024™.

It was a remarkable victory against the two-time champions. Goals to Peta Trimis and Naomi Chinnama in the second half turned the match around after Jeon Yugyeong gave Korea Republic the lead in the first 45.

Head Coach Leah Blayney made four changes to the side from the last time the Young Matildas played, which was against China in December. Milly Boughton, Peta Trimis and Sasha Grove earned a place in the starting eleven, while 16-year-old Maddie Caspers also claimed a starting spot in her first u20 national call-up.

Australia started the game the stronger of the two sides. Melbourne City’s Daniela Galic looked lively early on, forcing a good save out of goalkeeper Woo Seobin and putting ample pressure on Korea’s defence.

However, it was Korea Republic who began to take control of the game as the half wore on. The third-place team of the previous edition of the tournament were winning the territory battle, and looked the most likely to score.

It was Jeon Yugyeong who would score the breakthrough after a free kick. Australian goalkeeper Chloe Lincoln was not able to grasp the ball, and it dropped perfectly into the Korean captain’s path. She made no mistake from close range.

The team in red continued to dominate the rest of the half. Won Chaeeun came close to doubling their lead with a header that flashed just wide. For their part, the Young Matildas struggled to create opportunities, and went into the halftime break requiring a reset.

Leah Blayney turned to her bench to help spark that renewed impetus. Newcastle’s Lara Gooch and Claudia Cicco came onto the pitch to add pace and directness to Australia’s attack, and both were heavily involved in the action.

Gooch’s speed caused immediate issues for Korea’s defence. In the 55th minute, she picked up the ball on the wing and set off in space, putting in an almost perfect curved ball for Cicco at the back post. Her club teammate couldn’t quite get a foot on it for the first time shot, and Trimis’ follow-up was missed.

The Central Coast Mariners attacker would be be feeling much happier about the next opportunity that came her way. After some fantastic work from Gooch, who lifted a perfectly weighted ball over Korea’s midfield, it fell nicely into the path of Trimis. The 17-year-old made no mistake, tucking away the equaliser.

Korea continued to have more possession and shots, forcing defensive scrambles and some fine goalkeeping from Lincoln, but Australia’s pace in transition was causing all sorts of problems. Gooch almost had a goal of her own when substitute Alana Murphy – on in the 75th minute – played her a ball that she was able to use her pace to latch on to. Her shot was saved.

Pressure from substitute Kahli Johnson forced a corner as the game approached stoppage time. Korea Republic were not able to clear. Enter Naomi Chinnama.

The defender – not traditionally known for her goalscoring – was found after a composed pass from Gooch. The 19-year-old made no mistake, leathering it into the back of the net.

The victory is a massive result in the context of the group. If Australia finishes first or second, they will have the chance to contest a semi-final, and will qualify for the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup 2024™.

The result will certainly have fans looking ahead with excitement for the rest of the games with this very talented group of players.

Australia v Uzbekistan
Date: Wednesday, 6 March 2024
Kick-off: 4.00pm (local) / 10.00pm AEDT
Venue: JAR Stadium, Tashkent
Broadcast: 10 Play

Match Details

Korea Republic U-20: 1 (Yu-kyoung Jeon 25′)
Australia U-20:  2 (Peta Trimis 73′ Naomi Chinnama 90′)

Tournament: AFC U-20 Women’s Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2024™
Date: Sunday, 3 March 2024
Venue: Do’stlik Stadium, Tashkent
Kick-off: 1.00pm (local) / 7.00pm AEDT

Referee: Asaka Koizumi (Japan)
Assistant Referees: Supawan Hinthong (Thailand) & Xie Lijun (China PR)
Fourth Official: Dong Fangyu (China PR)

Australia U-20 XI: 1. Chloe Lincoln (GK), 5. Jessika Nash (C), 7. Milly Boughton (16. Cicco 45′), 10. Daniela Galic (8. Murphy 75′), 13. Peta Trimis (6. Hollman 90+5′), 14. Zara Kruger, 15. Alexia Apostolakis, 17. Madeleine Caspers (19. Gooch 45′), 20. Indiana Dos Santos (11. Johnson 80′), 21. Naomi Chinnama, 23. Sasha Grove

Substitutes not used:  2. Tijan McKenna, 3. Tegan Bertolissio, 4. Gemma Ferris, 9. Jynaya Dos Santos, 12. Tahlia Franco (GK), 18. Grace Wilson (GK), 22. Georgia Cassidy

Yellow Card: Alexia Apostolakis 10′ Daniela Galic 58′

Red Card: Nil 

Credit: Football Australia