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The Good, the Bad & the Ugly: Matildas v Vietnam

by Ben Somerford on Mar 07, 2020

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The Matildas put one foot on the plane to Tokyo 2020 with a lopsided 5-0 rout of Vietnam in Newcastle on Friday ahead of the return leg in Cam Pha on Wednesday.

GGArmy’s Ben Somerford watched on and reflected on the good, the bad and the ugly for the emphatic win.

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The Good
To be honest, there was no shortage of “the good”. Heading into the game there was a quiet confidence about this fixture albeit some sense of nerves given what was at stake but Matildas superstar Sam Kerr scored a captain’s goal in the 10th minute to settle any concerns. From there it was smooth sailing.

New Chelsea signing Kerr, fresh from the long haul journey from London, tired as the game wore on and showed leadership to step up from the penalty spot, given her World Cup spotkick miss, although she left her fate at the whim of the gods with a powerful lashed strike which went in off the underside of the bar.

Australia always seemed in control, with good link-up play, but the assured performances of Alanna Kennedy and Clare Polkinghorne at the back was comforting. To be fair, they didn’t have much pressure on the ball from the deep-lying Vietnamese but they exploited that by pushing forward, with the latter netting a rare goal after a neat routine between Steph Catley and Emily van Egmond.

Tameka Yallop was also decent in central midfield as the battle to be first choice in that role continues with Aivi Luik and Elise Kellond-Knight. The jury is still out.

The Bad
The tireless Ellie Carpenter claimed they could’ve scored more than five goals while coach Ante Milicic insisted the tie wasn’t won and that the second leg would be “very difficult”, but there wasn’t much of “the bad stuff” to worry about.

Chloe Logarzo picked up a knee issue which doesn’t seem too bad but may impact her availability for the second leg as well as her chances of walking into a first-team spot at new club Bristol City in the lead-up to the Olympics.

There was a bad moment in the 37th minute when Caitlin Foord hit the post from point blank range after a long Carpenter throw, before van Egmond blazed over from six yards but this feels like nit-picking.

The Ugly
Vietnam’s reaction to the referee’s decision to award the Matildas a 79th minute penalty wasn’t good. Defender Tran Thi Phuong Thao left a leg out which Hayley Raso fell over, albeit with “some GST” as the Fox Sports commentator described, which probably didn’t warrant a spotkick.

But the Vietnamese were enraged by the decision and remonstrated with the referee by tugging on her arms and shirt. Personally I’ve always detested any physical contact with a referee in any sport and see it as one of football’s ugliest sides. I often compare it to the wonderfully respectful relationship between referee and players in rugby union.

This incident wasn’t nice. Sure, the referee didn’t get hurt and the Vietnamese may have felt aggrieved given the dubious decision, but that cannot be happening ever. It shows total disrespect and opens a can of worms if not stamped out immediately.

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