The Qantas Matildas have completed their two match tour against China with a 2-0 loss in hot & humid conditions in Shanghai (China) tonight.
The Qantas Matildas wore black arm bands for this match as a mark of respect following the passing away of Tom Sermanni's mother over the weekend. Sermanni unfortunately had to leave his team on Saturday to return to Scotland to join his family, whilst Qantas Matildas Assistant Coach Robbie Hooker took over the head coach duties for the second tour match.
The opening exchanges picked up from where Friday nights match left off. Having played each six times in the past 12 months, the familiarity of each others style of play meant it was difficult for either team to break each other down.
China opened the scoring in the 38th minute when a cross from the right was met by the advancing Chinese striker who was able to tap in from close range. Unfortunately in the process, the striker collided with goalkeeper Lydia Williams. Williams didn't recover from the exchange and was replaced by Melissa Barbieri in the Qantas Matildas goal.
Soon after, Qantas Matildas captain, Cheryl Salisbury, pulled up with a hamstring/groin injury whilst in possession of the ball. This allowed a Chinese attacker to pounce on the loose ball 10m outside the penalty box and head for goal. Barbieri raced out to narrow the angle but a simple lay-off allowed the other Chinese striker to tap into an empty net to give the Chinese a 2-0 lead going into the break.
The second half saw the Qantas Matildas come back into the match with Lisa De Vanna & Jo Peters causing problems for the Chinese defence, but unfortunately none of the opportunities came to fruition. The match finished in ugly circumstances with 2 players from each team sent-off for unsporting behaviour.
Assistant Qantas Matildas coach Robbie Hooker was happy with the experience gained from the tour.
"Tonight was a very physical encounter, similar to the first game.
"Two defensive errors costs us a couple of goals, but it's important that we learn from these mistakes going into the Asian Cup.
"It was also good to give all players a decent run, including a senior debut for young Clare Polkinghorne. The couple of injuries that we picked up don't seem to be serious, along with a couple of bruised egos, so we can focus on fine tuning for the Asian Cup with this match experience under our belt," concluded Hooker.
The Qantas Matildas will now return home and prepare for the AFC Women's Asian Cup which kicks off in Adelaide on 16 July.
It will be the first time Australia have hosted an Asian tournament since joining the AFC on January 1 this year, with the tournament doubling as qualifiers for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.