Olympic Games qualifier: van Egmond the star of Westfield Matildas' five-goal win
A show-stopping performance from Novocastrian Emily van Egmond helped the Westfield Matildas move within 90 minutes of securing a spot at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after a 5-0 win over Vietnam on Friday night.
Melbourne City star van Egmond marked an appearance in her home town with a goal and two assists to lead a five-goal onslaught which has Australia in the box seat to book their ticket at the world footballing showcase in July and August of this year.
There were eight Westfield W-League talents on show for Ante Milicic's side in Newcastle, who will now turn their attention to the second leg in Quảng Ninh Province on Wednesday, with some involved in Westfield W-League Semi-Final action only days after that decisive encounter.
For now though, let's look back at a classy performance from the Green and Gold – and take a look at how your club's Australian national team star performed on the night as we count down the days before Finals Series fever takes hold.
Lydia Williams (Melbourne City)
The Melbourne City goalkeeper has not had many saves to make during the 2019/20 campaign as she marshals the competition's best defence and, against Vietnam, Williams was largely untroubled for the 90 minutes.
She did not have a save to make, although the veteran shot stopper would have had Nguyen Thi Bich Thuy's early free-kick covered, while Nguyen Thi Van ensured Williams had work to do late on as Vietnam chased a late goal.
Ellie Carpenter (Melbourne City)
The prodigious teenage talent turned in yet another barnstorming performance from right full-back in Newcastle.
Carpenter registered an assist for Sam Kerr's opening goal following a lovely, whipped delivery from the right flank, and she was generally a considerable threat for the visitors to manage during wave after wave of Australian attack.
With Melbourne City coach Rado Vidosic wary of Carpenter's relentlessly energetic displays, fans of the Premiers might even hope the flying full-back is rested for Wednesday's second-leg, should Milicic decided to rotate.
Clare Polkinghorne (Brisbane Roar)
A quiet night for the Australian stalwart in terms of defending – bar a few moments – but it was Polkinghorne's 10th goal for the national team which produced the wildest celebration for fans and players in Newcastle.
Polkinghorne showed all the predatory instincts of a seasoned goal-getter when she ran past her defender and applied a tidy finish to van Egmond's cross early in the second half to give Australia their fourth on the night.
Steph Catley (Melbourne City)
Like her club and country teammate Carpenter, Catley was a weapon on the left flank.
She mustered an impressive assist for van Egmond's goal thanks to a typically brilliant delivery, and played a part in the corner routine which led to Polkinghorne's effort.
Catley also won all seven of her duels – the only Westfield Matilda on the pitch to win every single physical duel she encountered throughout the 90 minutes.
Emily van Egmond (Melbourne City)
The born and bred Novocastrian was the star of the show on Friday.
Van Egmond had the ball on a string at the stadium where she was worshipped as a Newcastle Jet, and sent a large majority of those same fans into raptures by netting Australia's third goal on the night with a header which took a deflection off Tran Thi Phuong Thao en route to goal
Minutes earlier, she set up Chloe Logarzo by flicking on Caitlin Foord's cross and, in the second half, van Egmond might have doubled her goal tally only to be denied by the midriff of Vietnam goalkeeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh. A lovely piece of interplay from a corner routine with Catley saw her produce the assist for Polkinghorne's strike.
Tameka Yallop (Brisbane Roar)
Yallop was stationed in a deep-lying midfield role and went about her business quietly and efficiently to help launch Australia's dominance of possession.
She made three interceptions and once clearance – and rocketed a shot high and wide in the second half – before being replaced by Elise Kellond-Knight on 71 minutes.
Kyah Simon (Melbourne City)
The in-form City attacker earned a start behind the Westfield Matildas three-pronged attack of Kerr, Logarzo and Foord and did not disappoint.
Simon had a shot blocked on the line by Vietnam defender Luong Thi Thu Thuong in the first half and connected with the front-line excellently all night, before her withdrawal for Hayley Raso on the hour mark.
Elise Kellond-Knight (Brisbane Roar)
Kellond-Knight came on for Yallop on 71 minutes and showed some nice touches and passes with Milicic's side in total control for the match's dying embers.
Be sure to follow all the reaction – including player interviews and analysis – from tonight's win over Vietnam on the official Matildas website.