The Westfield Matildas were defeated 0-1 by DPR Korea in the opening match of their 2012 Olympic qualification campaign at Jinan Olympics Sports Centre, China.
DPR Korea took the lead in the 10th minute after Kim Su Gyong assuredly put away a cross and, despite some solid chances throughout the match, the Westfield Matildas were unable to equalise.
Sarah Walsh, who returned to the fold for the first time in over a year, had the best chance of the game. In the 75th minute, the speedy striker beat her defender to force the DPR Korea goalkeeper to come off her line but Walsh’s chipped shot fell just wide of the open goal.
Second half substitute Kyah Simon too had a chance to score, but her shot was hit straight at the DPR goalkeeper, who easily gathered it up.
Earlier in the match, Elise Kellond-Knight shot narrowly over from range, skimming the crossbar.
Speaking at the post-match press conference, Westfield Matildas Head Coach Tom Sermanni said it was not the result the team was after, but that the Westfield Matildas still had a strong chance to qualify for the 2012 Olympics.
“You have to take key chances to win games and I don’t think we took them. That was probably the difference between the two teams,” said Sermanni.
“We knew coming into this tournament that these matches were going to be tough and tight. There were areas of our performance that were a bit disappointing.”
“But in saying that, we also created enough chances to win the game. That shows that we’re very much still in this tournament.
“We need to not get too disappointed or distracted by today’s loss and instead refocus for the next four games.”
The match also marked the return of three players—Walsh as well as Thea Slatyer and Michelle Heyman—after extended absences from the Westfield Matildas. Heyman arrived in Jinan just two days ago after being called up to replace the injured Sam Kerr.
The Matildas will play Thailand in the second match of their qualification campaign on 3 September.
Westfield Matildas v DPR Korea
2011 Olympic Qualifiers
North Korea 1 (Kim Su Gyong 10’)
Thursday, 1 September 2011
Jinan Olympics Sports Centre
Westfield Matildas line-up: Lydia WILLIAMS (gk), Servet UZUNLAR, Thea SLATYER, Kim CARROLL, Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, Sally SHIPARD, Collette MCCALLUM (C), Heather GARRIOCK, Tameka BUTT (17. Kyah SIMON 75’), Clare POLKINGHORNE (20. Michelle Heyman 79’), Lisa DE VANNA (9. Sarah WALSH 65’).
Substitutes not used: Melissa BARBIERI (gk), Laura ALLEWAY, Emily VAN EGMOND, Aivi LUIK, Teigan ALLEN, Caitlin FOORD.
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil