Young Matildas defeat stoic Uzbekistan 2-0 Young Matildas

A Jessika Nash-led Young Matildas have made it two wins from two games in the AFC U20 Women’s Asian Cup, defeating the host nation 2-0.

The win means that if Australia avoid a seven-goal defeat against Chinese Taipei on Saturday, they will advance to the semi-finals of the tournament and secure a place in the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup Colombia 2024™.

Head Coach Leah Blayney made three changes to the side that started against Korea Republic. Lara Gooch came into the starting side after a standout second half on Sunday, alongside fellow first-game substitutes Alana Murphy and Shay Hollman in midfield. Millie Boughton, Indiana Dos Santos and Zara Kruger dropped to the bench as a result.

The Australian camp promised fast-paced, front-foot football. It was immediately delivered upon, with the CommBank Young Matildas applying ample early pressure.

In the first minute, Alana Murphy took Australia’s first corner. In the second minute, 16-year-old Maddie Caspers forced a fantastic save from goalkeeper Fotima Bakhriddinova after she firmly struck a half-volley.

It only took three more minutes for the pressure to lead to the breakthrough. Caspers played the ball to Peta Trimis in the box, who found Daniela Galic in front of goal. Galic was able to turn away from no less than three defenders in order to find space to shoot. She made no mistake once she found the angle, placing it calmly into the bottom corner.

Galic could have doubled their lead five minutes later, but fired over the crossbar after some good work from Trimis.

Credit: Football Australia

Uzbekistan’s path to attack was in transition. However, they were not able to get past a sturdy Australian defence. Led again by captain Jessika Nash as well as the ever-solid Naomi Chinnama at centre-back, the team in green and gold were able to snuff out any potential opportunities from the home side.

An indication of Australia’s dominance in possession and territory, particularly in the first half, was that goalkeeper Chloe Lincoln did not make her first touch in open play until the 27th minute.

Trimis was involved in almost everything in the first half, and she was rewarded with a goal of her own before the break. A clever touch after a long ball from Hollman in midfield set it up perfectly for the Central Coast Mariners striker to have a 1v1 opportunity with the goalkeeper. She slotted it into the back of the net tidily and gave her side a two-goal lead heading into the break.

Half-time saw the introduction of Millie Boughton and, for the first time in the tournament, Tijan McKenna. As a result, Trimis was withdrawn, as well as Nash – the captain’s armband was handed over to Game One matchwinner Chinnama.

Galic came close to making it three within seconds of the restart. She found herself right in front of goals, but skewed it wide. It was the story of the second half for the CommBank Young Matildas, who created plenty of opportunities but were unable to convert.

Gooch was again regularly on the ball, creating opportunities for others – including a particularly notable one for Alana Murphy in the 54th minute – and herself. Her ability and speed on the dribble made her a particularly difficult player to defend against.

Georgia Cassidy and Jynaya Dos Santos made their first appearances in the tournament in the 67th minute, and Tegan Bertolissio followed eight minutes later. Galic, Caspers and later Sasha Grove were the players they replaced.

The substitutes were able to see out the game and seal a comfortable 2-0 victory for Australia.

Australia v Chinese Taipei
Date: Saturday, 9 March 2024
Kick-off: 1.00pm (local) / 7.00pm AEDT
Venue: JAR Stadium, Tashkent
Broadcast: 10 Play

Credit: Football Australia