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Bumper crowd as Matildas beat China 2-0 in Olympic send-off

By AFP

June 3, 2024 06:52 PM


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Real Madrid's Hayley Raso and Everton's Clare Wheeler hit the target as Australia beat Asian champions China 2-0 in front of 76,798 fans Monday at their final home match before the Olympics.

The Matildas finished fourth at the last Games in Tokyo and again at the World Cup in 2023, with Tony Gustavsson's side desperate to do better in Paris.

After an uninspiring 1-1 friendly draw with China in Adelaide last week, a near full-strength team started at Sydney's Stadium Australia.

Wheeler pounced early in the second half, before a livewire Raso doubled the score after 58 minutes to send them to France on a winning note.

Gustavsson will name his 18-player Olympic squad on Tuesday with the only concern a hamstring niggle for Arsenal striker Caitlin Foord, who did not play on Monday.

In a game marking the retirement of veteran Australian goalkeeper Lydia Williams after 104 caps, the hosts dominated the first half but the Chinese defence was resolute.

The breakthrough came three minutes after the interval with midfielder Wheeler meeting a free kick from Arsenal's Steph Catley to powerfully head home in her first touch since coming on.

Winger Raso doubled the score eight minutes later, using her speed to dribble around onrushing goalkeeper Xu Huan after a piercing through ball from Sydney FC's Cortnee Vine.

China failed to qualify for Paris and have a new coach in former Matildas boss Ante Milicic.


AFP


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