Striker Sarah Walsh continued her good form as she netted twice to secure the Qantas Matildas a 2-1 win over Mexico at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City today Australian time, another fantastic result in the lead-up to the Olympic Games.
Walsh had scored both goals in the Qantas Matildas' 2-0 win over China last week, and repeated the feat here today against Mexico in front of a crowd of around 20,000 at the prestigious venue used for the 1970 and 1986 men's World Cup Finals.
Mexico had booked their ticket to Athens 2004 with a huge upset result in the semifinals of the CONCACAF region qualifiers earlier in the year, knocking out the Canadians who had finished fourth at last year's FIFA Women's World Cup.
Today's clash was a fiery affair with neither team taking a backward step and the local referee handed out a total of seven yellows and one red card. Qantas Matildas striker Lisa De Vanna dismissed late in the game for a second bookable offence.
Kylie Ledbrook came close to scoring her first senior international goal but her header flew just wide of the mark from a Heather Garriock freekick midway through the half.
Australia then took the lead in the 26th minute through a superb individual goal from Walsh who dispossessed a defender, dribbled past another two before slotting the ball low into the corner of the goal.
Within five minutes, the Australians were two-nil up when a long ball over the top caused the Mexican defence problems. The resultant loose ball was gathered on the edge of the box by Walsh and, spotting the goalkeeper off her line, delivered a clever lob over the keeper and into the back of the net.
Urged on by the large and boisterous home fans, the Mexicans turned up the pressure immediately from the restart. Within the first six minutes, defender Sacha Wainwright made a goal-line clearance to stop a certain headed goal, and goalkeeper Cassandra Kell made a spectacular diving save at the feet of an oncoming striker in a one-on-one situation.
Midway through the half, the home side almost scored, but the thumping freekick from long distance crashed against the crossbar.
Finally in the 81st minute the Mexicans broke through with a superb freekick from 30 metres out by star striker Maribel Dominguez, before Kell again made a top save deep in injury time to ensure the Qantas Matildas remain undefeated on this tour.
Coach Adrian Santrac was delighted after the game that was played in high altitude.
"This is a fantastic result, the players worked very very hard," said Santrac.
"We're developing and we have some momentum but we do have to learn to play smarter. The altitude had a big effect on our players which made the result even more credible."
The Qantas Matildas will play Mexico again on Sunday at the Jalisco Stadium in Guadalajara.