'Keep playing!' - Lights go out, but historic evening sparks wild celebrations on social media

The Westfield Matildas overcame an early power outage to beat Vietnam 2-1 (7-1 on aggregate) and secure their place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on Wednesday night (AEDT).

Sam Kerr and Hayley Raso were on target for Australia to send the Green and Gold to their second consecutive Olympics, and fourth overall. 

It brings what has been a challenging qualification period to an end - and ensures for the first time since the Athens 2004 Games, both Australia's men and women's national teams will compete.

And although the manner of the Westfield Matildas' two-legged victory was uncomplicated, it certainly was not a straightforward start to the match!

Here is how social media absorbed Wednesday night's tie in Cẩm Phả, Quảng Ninh Province.

rebel female football round

READ: Locked in hotel, no crowd and no lights - but Australia continue to roll with the punches
READ: ‘We kept pushing through’ – Raso delighted with Westfield Matildas’ resilience
TOKYO BOUND: How Australia's men and women broke 16-year Olympics drought

Lights out...

A floodgate failure less than 60 seconds into the contest at the Cẩm Phả stadium provided Ante Milicic's side with yet another hurdle to overcome.

But as the Westfield Matildas have proved in recent times, it will take more than a dodgy power line to halt the side's determination - with one of the Australian players urging the team to 'keep playing' despite the lights going off!

But when the lights came back on after a delay of over 20 minutes, it was captain Sam Kerr who sparked Australia into life. 

Kerr tucked Steph Catley's cross away with a neat volleyed finish, moving her outright second on the all-time Westfield Matildas scoring charts.

Kerr then turned provider to set up Raso to put Australia 2-0 up.

Raso was voted the Westfield Matildas' player of the match by fans last night, with her speed and trickery on the right flank giving the Vietnam defence no shortage of problems. 

Let's hope the Brisbane-born flyer continues her form in the FA Women's Super League for Everton.

Experience counts

As Australian football stats guru Andrew Howe pointed out, the eleven picked for Wednesday night's away leg was oozing with experience. 

In fact, it was the second-most experienced line up ever fielded in a senior international - coming up just short of the record set in Friday's 5-0 win in the first leg.

Matildas v Vietnam
The Westfield Matildas had a combined 895 caps of international football in their starting eleven

Time to celebrate

It was not a vintage performance by any means from Australia, but the most important thing was booking that coveted ticket to Tokyo.

And as you can tell by the post-match celebrations from the players, it meant a whole lot. 

GALLERY: Job done! Australia confirm a fourth Olympics appearance - in pictures
REPORT: Kerr, Raso fire Australia to away leg victory over Vietnam and seal ticket to Tokyo

Watch the Mini Match of Vietnam 1-2 Australia

2020 GUIDE: Key dates to add to your calendar
FINALS FEVER: What's in store for the Westfield Matildas in the Finals Series?


Upcoming fixtures

International Friendly 

United States of America v Australia
Date: Friday, 10 April 2020 (local time)
Kick-off: To be confirmed 
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah, USA
Tickets: www.ussoccer.com

International Friendly
Canada v Australia 
Date: Tuesday, 14 April 2020 (local time) 
Kick-off: 7.30pm – 12.30pm Wednesday, 15 April 2020 
Venue: BC Place, Vancouver, Canada 
Tickets: www.canadasoccer.com 

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