The Matildas took all three points in their second group match of the Asian Cup with a 3 – 1 defeat of tournament newcomers Jordan.

It was a match that was as memorable for its off field happenings as that on the pitch with the lights going out at the Matildas end late in the second half.

If the opening match was about the performance for the Matildas, the encounter with Jordan was about the result.

With hosts Vietnam occupying top spot of Group A courtesy of a 3-1 win over the Jordanians, at the very least the Matildas needed to match that result.

That objective was accomplished but it was hard going.

If the opening match was about the collective of the Matildas, the encounter with Jordan was about the individuals.

Co-captain Kate Gill led the team on the night finishing off most of the chances that came her way.

With her two goals Gill surpassed long time Matildas captain Cheryl Salisbury as the all time leading Australian goal scorer.

“It’s a great personal milestone,” said Gill of breaking the record.

“To go past Cheryl who is such a stalwart of our game and has been pretty much the backbone of women’s football in Australia for quite some time.”

“It’s quite an accomplishment and something I am extremely proud of.”

She also acknowledged that the match was not a vintage Matildas performance.

Everything that Australia had done so well against the world champions Japan, they struggled to accomplish in the first half against a Jordan side who deliberately made proceedings difficult.

Quick ball transfer, off the ball movement, connection of passes, overlapping runs from the fullbacks and pressing the ball carrier were missing early in the proceedings.

Their play was narrow allowing the Jordanians in and they eventually work their way into the match.

For a team in their first Asian Cup finals, the first West Asian side to qualify, frustrating Australia and managing a goal was their job done.

Post match Jordan captain Stephanie couldn’t contain her pride in her team and their performance.

“For us firstly it’s an privilege and an honour to play with the Asian champions.”

“For us it’s a very good result.  It’s the first time we participate in this tournament and game after game we are doing much better than the game before.”

The second half for Australia saw marked improvement in all the areas mentioned above.

It’s no coincidence that it occurred just after the injection of Caitlin Foord and Katrina Gorry with the latter scoring her first Asian Cup goal.

“Staj said that we needed to improve,” said Gorry.  “We all knew that so we just tried to come out in the second half and change the game.”

Both livewires were the spark required and their teammates responded.

Fullbacks Emma Checker and Teigen Allen began to push forward at regular intervals while Sam Kerr, who was good all night, found support holes in the Jordanian defence.

In her first start, Teresa Polias worked hard all night in the midfield.  Like her teammates, the Sydney FC midfielder took some time to get into her stride but her screening of the defence and distribution improved as the game wore on.

Defensively Australia were rarely pushed although Jordan, who attacked almost exclusively through long balls, did manage to score a controversial goal via that method.

An long range effort from Stephanie was collected by Brianna Davey right on the goal line with the Assistant Referee deeming the ball had crossed the line to the delight of the Jordanians.

Match like this, against sides Australia are expected to roundly beat, can be tricky encounters.  The Jordanians were physical and in you face. They harassed, put in tough tackles and generally made life difficult for Australia.

How players respond to that and raise their level independent of the opposition, is something that will need to be addressed.

Although far from a polished performance, the victory has Australia in second place behind Japan.

Their next match is on Sunday, 18 May against hosts Vietnam who have proved themselves to be a tricky opponent. The Vietnamese side are well structured and disciplined defensively and quick to break going forward.  Australia will required a concerted effort to overcome the hosts.

For the Matildas a semi final berth is all in their hands with a draw or victory enough for them to keep their Asian Cup title defence on track.