It was the first competitive match for Tony Gustavsson’s Matildas in 2022, as they looked to show their intent early on in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup against Indonesia.
To put it plain and simple, this was one of the most destructive and lethal performances this Matildas’ side have put on in recent times, despite the weaker opposition on paper.
Sam Kerr and co. could have added even further to their healthy goal tally, which ended 18-0, with both Emily Van Egmond and Kerr on separate occasions squandering key chances to provide their teammates with chances to score.
28-year-old Kerr’s four-goal first-half haul enabled the prolific striker to become Australia’s all-time international leading goal-scorer, surpassing Tim Cahill with ease. It’s the next milestone in her lengthy Matildas career that began at just 15-years-old.
Kerr was the Australian who started the quickest early on, netting a comfortable double with Indonesian custodian Fani Supriyanto at her mercy.
She was able to add her fifth in the second half, which allowed her to net her 54th international goal in 105 games for Australia.
Speaking to the media post-match, Gustavsson was impressed by how his side started the game against Indonesia.
“I brought the players together after the game and I only had one thing to say and that was how impressed I was of the professionalism of the players,” he said.
“To stay focused from the first second to the last one, I think we set the standard going into this tournament. “
The ability and expertise of the wide players of Mary Fowler, Caitlin Foord and the impact of Matildas’ debutant Holly McNamara off the bench should be seen as a positive for Gustavsson’s side, and is something that should be used in further matches if the Australians are to have success.
During the course of the match, we also saw a positional change for Alanna Kennedy with the 27-year-old stopper playing a period of time upfront.
Gustavsson commented on why the formation was changed in this specific match.
“For this game, yes, we worked on two different formations, 3-4-3 and 4-3-3 throughout the last 12 months,” he told.
“So we have the flexibility to go in and out these different shapes, the one thing that will stay the same though is the way we play.”
The Matildas’ manager has been under criticism for recent results with the Australian national team, and despite the clean sweep victory over Indonesia, the 48-year-old has once again come under strife for his substitution choices during the match.
He opted to bring on the plethora of experience available to him on the bench however, he did reward A-League Women starlet Holly McNamara with a solid cameo off the bench, in what could be a great base for her career at national level.
10 Football broadcaster and ex-Western Sydney Wanderer Georgia Yeoman-Dale would have preferred if Gustavsson prioritised youth over experience.
“I’d have to say I’m really disappointed tonight if anything,” she said.
“I think [it’s] fantastic we are scoring a lot of goals, but with what team, these girls have so many caps under their belt, they’ve got so much experience and they are playing top-level football.
“We have come out with our strongest team, when we have an opportunity to play young players, yes we see Holly McNamara making her debut off the bench, fantastic, we see Claire Wheeler playing 90 minutes, fantastic.
“But what about Cortnee Vine and Remy Siemsen? I don’t understand why he [Guvstasson] wants to come out and have Sam Kerr score five goals against Indonesia.”
The Matildas named an extremely strong squad against the Indonesians as they looked to pile on the pressure early on to make a strong statement at the start of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
Gustavsson opted for a number of changes in the opening match for Australia in the Asian Cup, re-deploying the experienced centre-back partnership of Alanna Kennedy and Claire Polkinghorne.
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The goals as they happened
Kerr made a brilliant early start for the Matildas early on, netting her first goal in the ninth minute after a well-worked move. She followed it up two minutes later with her 51st goal for Australia following a brilliant lay-off from central-midfielder Van Egmond.
Minutes later Foord made it three following a brilliant assist from Kerr. The siege on the Indonesian goal continued, as Mary Fowler made it four three minutes after Foord’s third.
Shortly after it was five for Australia with Hayley Raso flying into the act on the 25th minute.
It was Kerr who scored once again as she converted from the penalty spot to make it six and to add her third of the game to cap off a brilliant first-half performance.
Electric right-back Ellie Carpenter produced a brilliant finish to draw the seventh out of the hat, and immediately from kick-off, Kerr found herself amongst the goal-scorers again, adding the eighth for Australia and her fourth of the game.
It was another penalty for Australia, as once again Foord was brought down in the box. Van Egmond capitalised on the opportunity to make it 9-0 for the Matildas.
Australia didn’t hit 10 until early on in the second half, when Carpenter floated in a cross that beat Fani Supriyanto. Kerr continued her destructive performance and she had her fifth and Australia’s 11th of the match in the second-half.
Van Egmond had her second of the game after nodding home a header from a Kerr cross, but Australia wasn’t satisfied with 12, as the Novocastrian claimed her hat-trick from a deflected shot off Tameka Yallop.
Kyah Simon made it 14 for Matildas at the 65th minute, and a minute later Van Egmond added her fourth and Australia’s 15th with an untracked forward run in-behind.
Simon was played in for her double off the bench, which allowed Australia to cruise to its 16th goal of the afternoon.
The chances continued to fall for Australia and it found its 17th through Aivi Luik who flicked her shot into the top-right corner in the final 15 minutes for her first national goal.
Raso netted the 18th and final goal of the game for her second of the afternoon, completing the drenching.
The Matildas will next take to the pitch against the Philippines on Monday, January 24 at 9pm (AEDT).
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