Rapid Fire Start From Sayer Seals First Win

Australia U23 4-0 Indonesia

by Kieran Yap (9/7/22).

Above: Four-goal Amy Sayer in possession for the Matildas U23s against the senior Indonesia side yesterday. Photo: Tiebreaker Times/Angelo Rosales.

Mel Andreatta made some changes in the third game for Australia’s Under 23 squad. With a game every two days and an Under 20 World Cup weeks away, rotation is important. Illness in the camp also may have forced some selection decisions.  Happily, for the representative squad at the AFF Championships it was not all bad news and the night ended with the first Aussie win of the tournament.

Caitlin Karic, Hana Lowry, Paige Zois, and Daniella Galic were brought into midfield and attack. Jessika Nash, Alexia Apostolakis and Ella Tonkin joined goalkeeper, and captain Sally James in defence.

Up against Indonesia, and in need of a boost to their goal difference. Australia took only 10 minutes to open the scoring.

Above: Melbourne Victory prospect Paige Zois, seen here in action for the Junior Matildas, made her first appearance of the AFF Championships campaign. Photo: Football Australia.

Amy Sayer continued her fine form at the tournament. For the second game in a row, she made it one-nil.  After Australia cruised through midfield, Sayer was played into space by Leah Davidson. With plenty of time and space, the Stanford University attacker made no mistake. She rifled a shot into the top corner from just inside the box.

The Sayer show continued. Just two minutes later she had her second. A ball wide to the right flank found Karic who accelerated and crossed low into the six-yard box. Any touch would have caused an issue for the Indonesian goalkeeper, but the ball found its way to Sayer at the far post who adjusted her body to hit it home on the half volley.

The same combination made it 3-0 in the 15th minute. This time, Karic stopped and made space for the cross with a shift of the feet and a slight change of pace. Her cross beat three defenders and Sayer had the easiest of finishes.

Above: Amy Sayer and Caitlin Karic celebrating for the Matildas against Indonesia. Photo: Football Australia.

Sayer’s fourth came just before halftime. She received the ball at the edge of the box and cut inside deftly. So far in this game, she had displayed power and timing. On this occasion, she showed some of the light touch that makes her one of Australia’s most promising prospects.

She created the space for herself and on her left foot, she struck from 18 yards to make it 4-0. It was an incredible individual performance by the former Sydney FC prodigy. But it would be the last of the goals for the day.

Australia could not add to the scoreboard in the second half. A justifiable penalty claim was denied in the 55th minute and Galic tried her luck from outside the box, but Indonesia did not concede again.

Above: Sally James, who captained the Matildas on her first appearance in goal at the AFF Championships against Indonesia. Photo: Football Australia.

The AFF is a tough, intense sprint of a competition. Australia have their first win but still lag behind the Philippines who currently have a perfect record with second place in the group far from certain.

Singapore are the next opponents tomorrow. The side lost 7-0 to the hosts in their second match and if Australia can field a strong side another big win is a possibility.

Teams: AUSTRALIA: James, Nash, McNamara, Tonkin, Galic, Davidson, Sayer, Lowry, Zois, Apostolakis, Karic.

Scorers: Sayer 10’, 12’, 15’, 43’.

INDONESIA: Prihatini, Rumbewas, Safitri, Ramadhani, Wrtipo, Suandi, Kayla, Kartini, Maeshyaroh, Nadila, Awi.

Referee: Aung Seinn Cho.

Attendance: 62.

Above: The Matildas U23 squad gather ahead of today’s game with Indonesia. Photo: Football Australia.

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