Photo Credit: The KFA
Photo Credit: The KFA
Kyah Simon's 68th minute strike has seen Australia defeat world no. 17 Korea Republic 1-0 at Incheon Stadium in Korea.
In a typically tight encounter between the two nations, Simon latched onto a long ball from Alanna Kennedy before turning and striking, with a slight deflection from goalkeeper Kim Jungmi.
“We played a lot better today than we did against China and England in our last trip,” said Alen Stajcic.
“I thought we dominated the game for the most part and certainly had the better of the chances and the possession. They caused us a few problems at times but the players handled themselves really well.”
It was a match that Australia largely controlled from the opening minutes.
A strong start saw Australia win back to back corners early but the Korean defence were able to clear the danger.
The 8th minute saw the home side fashion the first effort on goal with Australia failing to clear their lines. Lee Geummin looked to take advantage but fired high from 18 yards.
Returning for the Matildas for the first time in 5 years, midfielder Caitlin Munoz then looked to challenge the Korean defence in the 11th minute but her strike from distance was wide of the mark.
Korea then had an injury blow just on 15 minutes when Lee Eunmi went down to be replaced by Kim Seonjoo.
The home side settled on the ball and found a rhythm but despite possession, they were unable to truly test Lydia Williams' goal until the 32nd minute.
Mina Lee got onto the end of a lose ball with her effort just sailing over the crossbar as the home side looked to press their territorial advantage.
Emily van Egmond then had a look at goal two minutes later when a quick 1-2 saw her in behind the Korean defence. Goalkeeper Kim Jungmi forced to block with her feet to keep the scores level.
Minutes later Van Egmond had another good chance as Lisa De Vanna weaved her way through the defence before cutting back to Van Egmond just inside the area. With a wall of feet in front, her low drive found the arms of Kim.
Both teams survived the first half to go in level at the break.
The second half saw Australia start well once again and Tameka Butt was given some space in the 55th minute only to sky her effort from 16 yard out.
Just past the half hour Korea cleared a Munoz free kick and quickly countered. Jeon Gaeul cut inside on the left and put in a back post cross with the Matildas defence forced to scramble to block Ji So Yun's close range shot.
Three minutes later Australia took the lead with Kennedy's ball going past the defence to find Simon. The Sydney FC striker turned inside before firing.
Five minutes later Korea had a good chance to equalise as Kim Sooyun found a way in behind the defence on the right. In space the winger slipped as she looked to connect sending the resultant shot high.
Making attacking substitutions pushed for second goal and in the 80th minute Catley moved into little space and swung in a low cross but no Matildas players were there to meet it at the back post with the ball going just wide.
Australia had to navigate one final Korean attack the influential Jeon Gaeul sent in a free kick into the penalty area but Lim Seonjoo couldn't get enough of a connection to beat Lydia Williams.
“Caitlin Munoz came in and did a good job and Laura Alleway and Alanna Kennedy showed some good signs as a defensive pairing at the back.”
“This performance and the time we’ve had together over here (in Incheon) certainly puts us back on track towards the qualifiers in February."
"There is confidence in the group again, there was a real improvement in the levels at training in what were cold and tough conditions, something we’ll have to deal with at the qualifiers, so it was a good experience for us all round.”
Australia will next meet Korea Republic in March 2016 at the 2016 AFC Olympic Qualifiers in Japan.
The Matildas return to home clubs this week.
Korea Republic 0
Australia 1 (Simon 68')
Sunday 29 November 2015
Incheon Stadium, Incheon
Kick-Off: 2:15pm local time (4:15pm AEDT)
Australia line up: 1. Lydia Williams, 5. Laura Alleway, 7. Steph Catley, 9. Caitlin Foord, 10. Emily van Egmond (15. Tara Andrews 90+2’), 11. Lisa De Vanna (22. Chloe Logarzo 82’), 12. Amy Harrison, 13. Tameka Butt (19. Katrina Gorry 60’) , 14. Alanna Kennedy, 16. Caitlin Munoz, 17. Kyah Simon (2. Larissa Crummer 77’)
Subs not used: 18. Mackenzie Arnold, 4. Clare Polkinghorne, 6. Georgia Yeoman-Dale, 23. Michelle Heyman