WATCH: CommBank Matildas youthful squad go down to Olympic Champions 5-0
A brace to Nichelle Prince, as well as goals to Cloé Lacasse, Simi Awujo and Adriana Leon meant that an experimental CommBank Matildas squad was defeated 5-0 by world number 10 Canada.
Coach Tony Gustavsson said pre-match that “it’s maybe not about winning a game, but winning a player.” That philosophy meant that the starting XI was vastly different from what fans came to expect this year.
In particular, it was a proud day for debutants Charlie Rule and Sarah Hunter, as they received CommBank Matildas cap #225 and #226 respectively.
However, on a cold and wet evening in Langford, it was the home side who dominated proceedings from the first minute to the last.
Nichelle Prince got scoring underway in the 10th minute and set the tone for the rest of the match.
Micah pulled off several impressive saves in the first half on her return to the starting lineup. She denied Vanessa Gilles and Adriana Leon twice, as well as being called into sweeper-keeper duties as the ball skidded through on a slippery artificial surface.
However, she was not able to stop Prince’s second. A clever shot outside the box snuck its way in at the front post and gave the Olympic champions a two-goal lead at half-time.
The game continued in a similar fashion after the break. Cloe Lacasse scored her third international goal in the 49th minute outside the penalty area and slotting it home.
Simi Awujo scored her first international goal in the 55th minute. Seven minutes later, Adriana Leon was rewarded for her performance with a goal to make it five.
Mass substitutions were made after Leon's goal. Katrina Gorry, Kyra Cooney-Cross, Alanna Kennedy and Mary Fowler came onto the pitch, and their introduction improved the performance – the CommBank Matildas first shot came in the 74th minute.
Canada legend Christine Sinclair also entered the field of play in the second half in her penultimate international appearance.
In the end, the game ended in disappointment for Australia, who will look ahead to an improved performance on Wednesday.
Canada v CommBank Matildas
Date: Tuesday, 5 December 2023 (local) / Wednesday, 6 December (AEDT)
Kick-off: 7.00pm PST (local) / 2.00pm (AEDT)
Venue: BC Place, Vancouver, BC
Broadcast: Network 10 and Paramount+