Vine Time For Cortnee But Concerns Remain

Australia 4-1 South Africa (8/10/22)

Above: The Matildas line up before kick-off at Kingsmeadow. Photo: Justine Burch for Impetus.

In My View

by Ben Gilby at Kingsmeadow for Impetus

Whilst the four goals may take the headlines, there were still a number of familiar issues which reared their head throughout the game. Whilst Australia dominated the match and scored four times, there was still a lack of a relentless sharp threat in front of goal.

With Sam Kerr missing due to illness apart from a seven-minute cameo at the end, once more there are question marks about what happens when she is not around – or when she is smothered by the opposition. Remy Siemsen remained on the bench, and against stronger opposition, the Matildas would have been made to pay.

Too often the passing was not as crisp, accurate, or pacey as it should have been on a consistent basis, and this is a bugbear that returns with alarming regularity. Yes, Australia were missing players once more, but to compete at the highest table next July and August, Gustavsson’s side will need to change these habits and tighten up.

In terms of positives, Charli Grant’s tracking ability in defence was excellent during the first half in particular. She offers a quick read of the play and goes to put out defensive fires almost as soon as they begin to blaze.

Alex Chidiac was, for me, hugely impressive when coming on in the second half. ‘Chids’ was lively, offered herself, and looked to link play excellently. The Racing Louisville midfielder is worthy of more game time. There was also the welcome return, late in the second half for Chloe Logarzo ahead of her A-League Women switch to Western United.

Just as everyone in green and gold was breathing a sigh of relief at an absence of defensive errors, there was an uneasy moment at the end which gave South Africa a goal. Clare Polkinghorne got caught, there was no one home, and Hildah Magaia was able to run in and lob Teagan Micah.

The win and four goals are welcome, but there is still so much to do, and a step up is needed on Tuesday against Denmark.

Match Report

by Johnathan Stack at Kingsmeadow for Impetus

The Matildas got their international mini tour in Europe underway with a 4-1 victory over South Africa at Kingsmeadow Stadium in South-West London.

It took five minutes for the deadlock to break, as the Matildas captain Steph Catley’s corner was turned in by Cortnee Vine who pounced on a mistake from South African keeper Regirl Ngobeni whose lapse in judgment at gathering the ball from Mary Fowler’s initial header. 

Vine doubled her tally on the day in the 25th minute. as quick thinking from Catley saw her capitalise on a loose South African pass on the edge of the box, she then flicked it through to Caitlin Foord who squared it across for Vine to slot home as Australia took a two-nil lead.

Catley was causing South Africa all kinds of problems down the left wing as five minutes later she crossed for Vine who was free in the 18-yard box but failed to hit the target when the Sydney FC player looked destined to score a first-half hat-trick.

The Matildas did make it three on the stroke of half-time as Catley was once again involved as her corner was headed home by Claire Polkinghorne as Australia asserted their dominance in a one-sided first half and led 3-0 at the break.

It was more of the same in the second half as Foord got onto the scoresheet nine minutes after the restart as the Arsenal forward received the ball from her Gunners’ team-mate Catley who claimed her third assist of the day, great skill from Shellharbour native to beat Bambanani Mbane to fire the ball home for the Matildas fourth goal. 

The Matildas kept pushing for more as the second half wore on as Katrina Gorry’s superb strike from outside the box forced Ngobeni into a great save with 15 minutes left.

South Africa got a late consolation goal as they broke through and caught Australia off guard, especially Teagan Micah who was positioned outside of the penalty area and couldn’t backpedal quick enough as Hildah Magaia lobbed her from about 30 yards out.

After the game, Matildas head coach Tony Gustavsson spoke about the importance of playing this game in London: “We love playing on home soil, especially in a World Cup year, get that connection with the fans and the football community back home. In that sense it is important we play in Australia, from a football preparation standpoint in massive that we get these camps in Europe.

“We had five training days here compared to the last camp in Australia, where we had two and a half days. Also, we had four players coming in not playing games this weekend so they were fresh from Monday so we can play five training sessions straight just football which was massive.”

Cortnee Vine also faced the media after bagging her first goals as a Matilda, “The first was the easiest goal you can get but I’ll take it as my first one, it was you want I just want to score as a striker coming into the Matildas, hopefully, I can score a few more. A brace is always nice as well, a bit disappointed how I didn’t get a hat-trick.”

The Matildas now head to Scandinavia to take on Denmark on Tuesday in Viborg.

Teams: AUSTRALIA: Micah, Luik, Polkinghorne, Vine, Catley, Grant, Foord, Fowler, Raso, Gorry, Cooney-Cross. Substitutes: Arnold, Nevin, Logarzo, Gielnik, Kerr, Checker, Crummer, Siemsen, Chidiac, McNamara.

Scorers: Vine 5′, 24′. Polkinghorne 41′, Foord 52′.

SOUTH AFRICA: Ngobeni, Gamede, Magama, Smidt, Magaia, Salgado, Motlhalo, Seoposenwe, Mbane, Makhubela, Holweni. Substitutes: Magagula, Letsoso, Sauls, Shamase, Kgadiete, Mhlongo, Moodaly, Motau, Majiya.

Scorer: Magaia 86′.

Attendance: 1,417.

Referee: Lorraine Watson (SCO)

Justine Burch’s EXCLUSIVE photo gallery from Kingsmeadow will be on the site tomorrow.

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