Sydney, July 20 – Regardless of the absence of their captain Sam Kerr, co-hosts Australia clinched a 1-0 victory over Eire of their FIFA Ladies’s World Cup opener, right here on Thursday.
The match, performed in entrance of a record-breaking crowd of 75,784 followers at Stadium Australia, kicked off the match on a excessive observe.
The Matildas shouldered the load of expectation amplified by the biggest crowd ever for a girls’s soccer sport in Australia. Pushed to the brink by a tenacious Eire staff in Sydney’s crisp circumstances, they managed to face their floor.
A penalty kick from Steph Catley within the 52nd minute marked the one distinction between the Group B groups. Regardless of being extremely favored, Australia confronted a formidable problem from Eire, who made a powerful debut on the World Cup, a Xinhua report stated.
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The Matildas took a success with the withdrawal of Kerr, the face of the match, dominated out of Australia’s first two video games attributable to a calf damage sustained at Wednesday’s coaching.
“Heartbreak, to be trustworthy,” Catley stated of Kerr’s damage. “We made certain we bought the win for her.”
With out their star striker, Australia grappled with penetrating a well-organized Irish protection within the first half. Their opponents stood agency, defying their higher-profile rivals amid the fervent environment.
Australia’s ahead Caitlin Foord was successfully contained by a bodily Irish facet. Her few alternatives to attain fell quick, main the groups right into a half-time stalemate.
Aiming to evoke their subdued followers, Australia entered the second half with a extra aggressive play fashion. Their effort paid off when Hayley Raso was taken down within the field by Marissa Sheva.
Catley, stepping in as interim captain for Kerr, drove a penalty excessive into the left nook, igniting a wave of euphoria all through the stadium.
Energized, Australia continued with renewed function, solely to be hampered by imprecise ending.
In a last-ditch try for an equalizer, Eire made a number of substitutions, however the purpose they sought remained elusive regardless of quite a few late possibilities.
Eire will face Canada on July 26, whereas Australia goes up towards Nigeria the next day.