Impressive Matildas take down Brazil in opening friendly

Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson was able to cap his first match on Australian soil with a 3-1 win over Brazil, thanks to a second-half cameo from Emily van Egmond.

Van Egmond scored a goal on her return to Matildas colours to ice the win in the 80th minute, having earlier set up teammate Mary Fowler for a score in the second half.

Clare Polkinghorne had opened the scoring for the home side just before half-time in the first of two friendlies against Brazil.

Adriana found the back of the net for Brazil’s only goal of the night in the 68th minute.

The Matildas were playing their first match in Australia since early 2020.

They had their first scoring chance 10 minutes into the contest when a flick behind the Brazilian defence fell into the path of Tameka Yallop on the edge of the box.

Yallop squandered the opportunity and ended up colliding with Brazilian goalkeeper Leticia, who was cleared to play after receiving attention from medical staff.

While the Matildas continued to win the ball high up the field, their problems again showed in defence.

Solidity at the back has been an issue under Gustavsson and whenever the Matildas lost possession, space opened up for the visitors.

Giovanna Quieroz looked to latch onto one through ball and, were it not for a cynical foul from Alanna Kennedy, the Brazilians could well have been away.

Kennedy — who was handed the captain’s armband in her 100th game for the Matildas — was shown a yellow card as Brazil continued to probe the Matildas’ defence.

The Matildas were able to wrestle back control of the first half, with the pressure eventually telling for Brazil in the 38th minute.

A free kick just outside the penalty box was the platform Australia needed, with an inch-perfect delivery from Steph Catley finding Sam Kerr.

A Kerr header cushioned the ball into the path of Polkinghorne, who drove home from close range.

After the half-time break, the Matildas briefly switched off with Adriana able to test Lydia Williams.

Van Egmond had a similar moment at the other end, before floating in a well-weighted cross for Fowler to head in Australia’s second in the 66th minute.

No sooner had the Australian celebrations for Fowler’s goal stopped, though, and it was the turn of a raucous section of Brazilian fans to cheer.

Kennedy stumbled in the wet as she attempted to play out from the back, with Adriana the beneficiary.

With a sharp turn, the Brazilian homed in on goal and made no mistake this time to send the ball flying past Williams.

Mary Fowler (left) scored the Matildas’ second goal against Brazil.(Getty: Cameron Spencer)

Brazil coach Pia Sundhage dispatched the experienced duo of Marta and Debinha with 20 minutes remaining, but it was van Egmond who proved the difference.

Catley turned the ball back from the byline with van Egmond able to drive home from 12 yards out to put the result beyond doubt.

The two sides will meet again at the Western Sydney Stadium on Tuesday night.


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