The Westfield Matildas’ began their ground breaking AFC Women’s Asian Cup campaign with a 2-0 victory against Vietnam.
Leena Khamis headed the Westfield Matildas’ into the lead midway through the first half, before Kylie Ledbrook secured the win after converting a penalty early in the second half.
Coach Tom Sermanni went for experience with his selections for the opening encounter with Westfield Matildas’ veterans Thea Slatyer, Sally Shipard and Karla Reuter leading the line up.
Current household names Sam Kerr, Tameka Yallop (Butt) and Kyah Simon made their first senior tournament debuts with teen defender Teigen Allen becoming the newest Westfield Matilda.
Australia started the clash confidently with an early effort from Shipard setting the tone for the spirited match.
While Australia maintained a strong hold of possession, Vietnam was typically hard to breakdown in a 4-4-1-1 formation.
Their mobile attacks created some nerves for the Westfield Matildas but not enough to breach their defensive line.
Vietnam’s best chance came in the opening minutes when key midfielder Nguyet Thi Muon narrowly missed Lydia Williams’ goals.
In the 28th minute Kylie Ledbrook sent a well weighted ball toward Leena Khamis with the striker heading home past Vietnam keeper Dang Thi Kieu Trinh, securing Australia’s 1-0 lead.
Despite a couple of half chances, the Westfield Matildas would take that advantage into the break.
In the second half Vietnam continued to make life interesting for the Australian defence, but their attacks were all easily thwarted by Williams.
Seven minutes after the restart. Australia doubled their lead. Midfielder Tameka Butt was knocked over attempting to collect the ball from Vietnam defender Le Thi Thuong and referee Ri Hyang had no hesitation pointing to the spot.
Kylie Ledbrook stepped up to take the penalty and expertly dispatched the ball to the left of Vietnam keeper Trinh.
In the 64th minute 16-year-old Teigen Allen made her Westfield Matildas debut coming on for Lauren Colthorpe and made an immediate impact linking up well with Kerr down the right side of Australia's attack.
There was end-to-end action in the final 20 minutes but the Westfield Matildas were comfortable in holding on take top spot in Group B.
"I'm satisfied with the win but thought we could have played better," said Westfield Matildas Head Coach Tom Sermanni.
"I think we've come to expect these tough games from teams like Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar and to come through with a victory is quite a positive for us."
With Korea Republic and China on the horizon, Sermanni held back some of his more experienced players.
"When we play in these tournaments it is very important to use the squad as a whole instead of just relying on the same starting 11.
"Both China and Korea will be very difficult to play against and to beat. There will be significant changes for the next game and we'll see where we are placed following that."
AUSTRALIA Line up: 18. Lydia WILLIAMS (gk), 3. Karla REUTER, 5. Lauren COLTHORPE (31. Teigen ALLEN 64'), 6. Servet UZUNLAR (22. Sam KERR 53'), 10. Kylie LEDBROOK, 13. Thea SLATYER (c), 15. Sally SHIPARD, 17. Kyah SIMON, 19. Leena KHAMIS, 24. Tameka BUTT, 27. Aivi LUIK
Substitutes: 1. Melissa BARBIERI (GK), 4. Clare POLKINGHORNE, 7. Heather GARRIOCK, 9. Sarah WALSH, 11. Lisa DE VANNA, 12. Kate GILL, 16. Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, 25. Casey DUMONT (GK)
Coach: Tom Sermanni
VIETNAM Line up: 1. Dang Thi Kieu Trinh (gk), 4. Nguyen Thi Hanh, 7. Nguyen Thi Nga, 8. Dao Thi Mien, 13. Nguyen Thi Muon (19. Le Thi Oanh +76'), 14. Doan Thi Kim Chi, 15. Thi Ngoc Anh, 16. Le Thi Thuong, 18. Nguyen Thi Minh Nguyet, 23. Tran Thi Kim Hong, 29. Bui Thuy An
Substitutes: 3. Nhieu Tuy Linh, 5. Nhu, 10. Nguyen Thi Thanh, 12. Phu, 17. Nguyen Hai Hoa, 20. Nguyen Thi Nguyet, 28. Do Thi Thu Trang, 27. Duong Thi Danh (gk), 28. Nguyen Thi Mai Ngoc
Coach: Vue Ba Dong