Tokyo 2020 qualifier wrap - City receive a key Westfield Matildas boost
Tokyo 2020, tick. Next up, the Westfield W-League Championship.
Australia confirmed their appearance at the Olympic Games with a 2-1 win (7-1 on aggregate) over Vietnam on Wednesday.
It is the Westfield Matildas’ fourth tournament and, while that is an achievement worth savouring, six of Ante Milicic's starting eleven from the Cẩm Phả Stadium in Quảng Ninh Province have little time to celebrate.
That is because the Westfield W-League Finals Series looms large. And here's how the Westfield Matildas involved will be heading into the weekend's Semi Final action.
Lydia Williams (Melbourne City)
Tran Thi Kim Thanh was once again the busier of the two goalkeepers in the qualifying playoff second leg and the Vietnamese stole the show at times with some spectacular saves.
A spectator until Huynh Nhu scored her nation's first ever goal against the Westfield Matildas, Williams was called into action in the ensuing period of Vietnam pressure that followed as the world No. 32 ranked team came home with a wet sail.
The Melbourne City veteran was not overly troubled however, and made comfortable stops from Nguyen Thi Bich Thuy and Nguyen Thi Tuyet Dung.
Steph Catley (Melbourne City)
It was a quieter night at the office than usual for the typically instrumental left-back, who picked up an assist with a beautiful cross for Sam Kerr's opener.
It was one of two chances Catley made on a night where Australia did not really unleash the full attacking power of their full-backs.
Ellie Carpenter (Melbourne City)
A collective sigh of relief sounded around Melbourne when Carpenter was withdrawn by Ante Milicic at half-time.
The teenager has ran herself into the ground for her country over the qualifying period but, like Catley, found opportunities to hurt the Vietnam defence limited on Wednesday.
City fans and coach Rado Vidosic will relish having Carpenter raring to go for Sunday's clash with Western Sydney Wanderers.
Alanna Kennedy (Sydney FC)
Kennedy was culpable for gifting Vietnam the equaliser after a misjudged back pass to Williams on 55 minutes, a moment the supremely gifted centre-back will want to have over again.
It was, however, a rare lapse for the commanding Kennedy who finished with a game-high 145 touches, three out of three tackles completed and four out of four duels won.
She also saw a trademark free-kick parried by Kim Thanh and caught the eye with several audacious cross-field passes.
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Clare Polkinghorne (Brisbane Roar)
Polkinghorne was denied a second goal in as many matches as a second-half header came back off the crossbar.
From a defensive standpoint, the Brisbane stalwart had a quiet evening but was forced into some evasive action late as Vietnam pushed for an unlikely equaliser.
Emily van Egmond (Melbourne City)
This was a subdued performance from van Egmond after her scintillating display in Newcastle five days earlier.
She did create three chances – only outscored in that category by Sam Kerr – and saw one effort blocked by the opposition defence and a later try go high and wide.
Elise Kellond-Knight (Brisbane Roar)
Kellond-Knight was introduced into the starting line up at the expense of Roar teammate Tameka Yallop and went about her business as efficiently as possible on a trying surface.
The midfielder will lament a spurned opportunity to find the net when Chloe Logarzo's penalty kick was parried into her path by Kim Thanh during the first half.
Karly Roestbakken (Canberra United), Kyah Simon (Melbourne City) and Tameka Yallop (Brisbane Roar)
Canberra starlet Karly Roestbakken was sent on for the second half by Milicic for Carpenter and the youngster held her own late on when Vietnam enjoyed a period of resurgence. Simon and Yallop were brought on in the dying stages.
Westfield W-League Semi Finals
Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC
Saturday, 14 March 2020
Kick off: 2.00pm AEDT
Venue: Epping Stadium
Melbourne City v Western Sydney Wanderers
Sunday, 15 March 2020
Kick off: 1.30pm AEDT
Venue: ABD Stadium, Broadmeadows