Australia have snatched a late equaliser against the USA, thanks to a deflected Kyah Simon effort.
Football can be a funny game, and on a night where their performance was arguably not as positive as Saturday’s 3-0 loss, the Matildas came away with a draw.
Simon’s shot, off Sam Kerr’s knockdown, cannoned into USA substitute Becky Sauerbrunn and wrong-footed keeper Casey Murphy, to the delight of more than 20,000 fans in Newcastle.
AS IT HAPPENED: Australia 1, USA 1
With just over two minutes of regular time to play it was a moment of relief for Simon, who missed the best chance for the Aussies on the weekend.
”She picked herself up, we needed that one,” skipper Sam Kerr said afterwards.
The game had begun in the exact same way as Saturday’s 3-0 loss, with Australia conceding a goal in the opening moments.
Lynn Williams spotted Margaret Purce’s run down the right flank, and freed her in the box with a beautiful slide-rule pass.
Purce looked up and rolled it back to Ashley Hatch, who scored in the opening 30 seconds against Australia on Saturday, and just after three minutes here.
“It’s disappointing to concede in the first few minutes again,” Kerr said.
”It probably wasn’t our best performance, but we’re building … we’ll take a tie against the world number one.”
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Lindsey Horan, who won and converted a controversial penalty on Saturday, had the ball in the back of the net in the second minute of injury time, only for the lineswoman’s flag to deny her.
Coach Tony Gustavsson has stressed that it’s not all about results at the moment; it’s about the future.
But regardless of that, it’s a brilliant result for Australia against the world’s No.1-ranked team.
“I think I had all the emotions you can have as a human being tonight,” Gustavsson said.
“The players have proven exactly what this team is about – that never say die attitude.”
He went on to praise the fans and the atmosphere as well, in what was a record Matildas crowd in Newcastle of 20,495.
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