Matildas goal scoring hero Alanna Kennedy says Australia will be looking avoid the late dramatics of the Thailand semi-final and score early in the Asian Cup Final against Japan.
The Matildas take on Japan in the Asian Cup final after pulling off a miraculous escape in a drama packed contest against Thailand.
In the 91st minute the Matildas were trailing 2-1 against the Thais when Kennedy’s superb late headed equaliser spurred the Australians into extra-time and a subsequent dramatic penalty shootout win.
Ahead of tomorrow’s Asian Cup final, Kennedy isn't eager to repeat the Matildas previous two encounters against Japan and Thailand which reulted in last gasp equalisers.
“We don’t want to keep it too late, we want to score early and get some momentum behind us and put them on the back foot,” she told FourFourTwo.
“I’m sure it will be a tough match as Japan is a great side. I’m not sure how it’s going to play out, but I know that we are ready for it.
“We have a great team here and we are very excited. We are looking to bounce back from Thailand and I think it will be a great match.”
During the 2-2 draw against Thailand, Kennedy and goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold’s errors at the back played a part in the two goals the Matildas conceded.
But Kennedy redeemed herself with the equalising goal that sent the match into extra time while Arnold’s heroics in the shootout guided the Matildas into their third consecutive Asian Cup final.
Kennedy gave credit to her teammates for the win and doesn’t foresee being involved in such a tumultuous match again.
“It’s probably one of the most chaotic games I’ve ever played, and I don’t think there will be another game like that any time soon,” she said.
“There were a couple of heroes the other night and it’s a pretty good feeling to be able to play a part.
“I’ve got a few goals under my belt and scoring from set pieces is one of my strengths so to be able to contribute is important and the other night it was a really important game, so I’m happy with that.”
The Matildas’ exploits at the Asian Cup means they qualified for their seventh consecutive Women’s World Cup and Kennedy said she is looking forward to representing Australia at football’s blue-ribbon event.
“Playing in France next year will be amazing,” she said.
“It’s a year away, but women’s football has grown so much and so I can imagine it will be a really great atmosphere over there in France. I’m really looking forward to it.
“It was one of our goals coming in here so to check that one off is exciting”
Westfield Matildas Match Schedule
Friday, 20 April
Westfield Matildas v Japan
Amman International Stadium, Amman
Kick off 8pm local time (Saturday, 21 April, 3am AEST)
All Westfield Matildas 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup matches will be broadcast live and exclusive on FOX SPORTS.