The Commonwealth Bank Matildas ended their friendly series against Brazil notching up a win and a draw in their first game on home soil in almost 600 days. It was a positive homecoming, but head coach Tony Gustavsson and goalkeeper Lydia Williams know there is room to improve.
After a triumphant 3-1 homecoming victory over Brazil on Saturday night, the Commonwealth Bank Matildas had to settle for sharing the spoils 2-2, coming up against a dogged Brazillian side last night.
Australia had the best early chances and struck first through Clare Polkinghorne before skipper Sam Kerr shot second. The Commonwealth Bank Matildas looked to have the upper hand with a two-goal buffer, but by the 75th minute, Brazil had equalised through Erika and Debinha and the score settled 2-2.
Post-match, Gustavsson and Williams spoke to the media who questioned how the Aussies lost their lead.
"I said we needed to be humble about that first game because Brazil had a stronger team (on Tuesday)," Gustavsson said.
"As long as we score more I'm happy. I do think there were some improvements defensively.
"I think we did a better job of knowing when to drop off and stop those transitions," he continued.
"I'm a bit disappointed we conceded on the corner. We know set pieces are very important. They screened Sam Kerr and scored too easily."
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Gustavsson conceded that pace and organisation in the final third was an issue during the game, but praised Kerr's team goal.
"We struggled to get into the final third because Brazil were a bit more aggressive with their defending and I think we played too slow at times," Gustavsson said.
"I looked at our passing completion in the final third and it wasn't that good statistically. We gave the ball away in the final third.
"But, if you look at the second goal, that's exactly what we've been working on - that type of combination play.
"We still want to play crosses when it's on, but when it's not, we want to have more variation in the final third. That (Kerr goal) was world-class, we need to do it more often."
Brazil's first goal came through unmarked Erika's header, and the second, via Tamires cross which sent Williams backtracking, parrying the ball into the bar as she fell, leaving Debinha to finish it off.
“I was set up for a cross and obviously it came off the boot and it was going into the top corner,” Williams said.
“It turned into a save and I guess that’s how it went.
“We’ll look at the footage and stuff, but as a goalkeeper, you kind of roll with the punches I guess.”
Looking at the positives, Williams spoke about the bigger picture.
“It’s still a fairly new squad and we are building towards the Asian Cup,” the shotstopper said.
“I think the first half solidified where we were and they’re a great team and they’ll go out and perform well.
“It’s disappointing (to draw). From where we were it’s a big step leading into January.
“It’s a good test for us and an indication of what we need to improve on out there.”