CommBank Junior Matildas kick off AFF U18 Women’s Championship with a win over the Philippines

The CommBank Junior Matildas kicked off their AFF U18 Women’s Championship campaign with a 4-0 win over the Philippines, the win was the team's first international activity since their involvement in the 2019 AFC U16 Women's Championship where they finished fourth in the tournament three years ago.  

Australia goes to the top of Group B after their opening game, with Avaani Prakash scoring twice and India Beier and Maya Lobo both finding the back of the net in the second half.

Head Coach Rae Dower spoke about the victory after her side's opening match.

"I'm ecstatic to finally get this talented group onto the park after nearly three years in limbo. They're such a talented group of footballers and they've worked so hard for this opportunity to shine on the international stage," she said.

"I'm proud to have given 16 players their debuts tonight.  To see the beaming smiles on their faces when player mentor and former Matilda, Tammie Thornton and I presented them with their jerseys on the eve of the match, will live long in all of our memories.

"Tonight's match was another step forwards in the football careers of the players. I'm very proud of the players and staff after such a dominant performance," she continued.

Dower also spoke about the exciting challenge of their opening match-up.

"The Philippines is a physical, combative team and it was an ideal way to kick off our tournament.

"We matched their physicality and were strong all over the park, dusting off some nerves in their first match together.

"We created many goal-scoring opportunities with some sublime combination play. Their goalkeeper made some outstanding saves and we hit the crossbar and post a couple of times.

"Overall, a total team performance allowed for some well-constructed goals to Avaani, Indi and Maya and we're looking forward to being even more clinical in our finishing the next match."

When asked about the biggest positives from the CommBank Junior Matildas' first international activity in three years, Dower said it's seeing how ready the team is to improve, learn and make the most of the tournament.

"What's most pleasing is that we know there's so much improvement in the team and the players are hungry to get back out there for the next match and improve on that performance."

Australia's next match of the AFF U18 Women’s Championship 2022 will see them take on Malaysia on Wednesday night, Malaysia picked up a 2-0 win over Myanmar in their opening game of the tournament.

AFF U18 Women’s Championship 2022 – Match Schedule (Australia)

Malaysia U18 v Australia U18
Date: Wednesday, 27 July 2022
Venue: Athletic Field, Palembang, Indonesia
Kick-off: 7.30pm (local); 10.30pm AEST

Australia U18 v Myanmar U18
Date: Friday, 29 July 2022
Venue: Athletic Field, Palembang, Indonesia
Kick-off: 3.30pm (local); 6.30pm AEST

Semi-Finals: Tuesday, 2 August 2022
Finals: Thursday, 4 August 2022