The Matildas’ final match of 2017 saw Australia run out 5-1 winners over China in Geelong. Not even a half an hour delay caused by nearby lightning could stop Australia from finishing the year on a high.
As expected, Alen Stajcic made six changes to the starting XI, bringing in a host of names including Laura Alleway who made her 50th appearance for the national team.
China also made changes to its line up and they appeared to pay dividends immediately with the visitors taking an early lead.
Alleway’s pass to Ellie Carpenter was cut out by Xu Yanlu. She put the ball into the box and Ren Guixin stuck her boot out to score.
However, Australia only had to wait seven minutes for the equaliser with an audacious strike from Kyah Simon in the 14th minute finding the back of the net. It was her first goal for the Matildas since the Algarve Cup match against Denmark in March this year.
The Matildas seemed to settle from their early shakiness and looked at their deadly best when passing quickly and decisively.
Australia’s advantage was doubled via an own goal in the 24th minute. Carpenter’s quick thinking at the throw in played Caitlin Foord into space. Her ball across the face of goal was turned in by Li Danyang.
Sam Kerr then did what Sam Kerr does best and scored in her sixth consecutive game for the Matildas; a new record. Her pressing was rewarded as she dispossessed the Chinese defender just outside the box. Her shot was partially saved by early substitute ‘keeper Lu Feifei but trickled over the line.
Following the lightning delay, the final minutes of the first half and shortened half time break, China came out of the blocks and peppered the Matildas’ goal.
Lydia Williams was called into action multiple times, a far cry from Mackenzie Arnold’s zero saves made on Wednesday. Despite the best efforts of Yanlu and Guixin it was Australia who scored in the second stanza.
Kerr was once again the scorer, connecting with an Emily van Egmond free kick with her head, looping it into an empty net after Feifei came to collect and stranded herself.
Chloe Logarzo added goal number five and her first ever Matildas goal in the 68th minute. Substitute Amy Harrison played in Kerr whose ball across the face of the goal was met by Logarzo, who was unmarked at the far post for the simplest of tap ins.
This victory puts the Matildas in a great position to finish the year as fourth in FIFA rankings, Australia’s highest ever standing, assuming other results go their way as well.
Australia (Simon 14’, Danyang OG 24’, Kerr 38’ / 59’, Logarzo 68’)
China PR (Guixin 7’)
Australia: 1. Lydia Williams (gk) (12. Eliza Campbell (gk) 84’), 5. Laura Alleway, 6. Chloe Logarzo (23. Michelle Heyman 74’), 8. Elise Kellond-Knight, 9. Caitlin Foord (11. Lisa De Vanna 81’), 10. Emily van Egmond (2. Amy Harrison 63’), 14. Alanna Kennedy, 17. Kyah Simon, 19. Katrina Gorry (16. Hayley Raso 63’), 20. Sam Kerr (22. Larissa Crummer 81’) , 21. Ellie Carpenter
Unused Substitutes 4. Clare Polkinghorne, 13. Tameka Butt, 18. Mackenzie Arnold (gk)
Yellow Cards None
Red Cards None
Referee Sandra Strub (Switzerland)