Kerr, Raso fire Australia to away leg victory over Vietnam and seal ticket to Tokyo

The Westfield Matildas have booked their ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games with a 7-1 aggregate victory over Vietnam.

Australia confirmed their fourth Olympics appearance with a 2-1 away triumph over the Southeast Asian nation in Wednesday evening's away leg at the Cẩm Phả Stadium.

Ante Milicic's side arrived in Vietnam's Quảng Ninh Province with a 5-0 goal buffer following last Friday's win in Newcastle, and their advantage was built upon thanks to first half strikes from Sam Kerr and Hayley Raso.

Huynh Nhu scored Vietnam's first ever goal against Australia in the second half at the Cẩm Phả Stadium, which was played without spectators due to coronavirus precautions.

Australia are now one of three AFC representatives to feature at the global football showpiece, to be played between July and August this year.

Korea Republic will battle with China PR for the other AFC spot, with Japan having already qualified as tournament hosts.

It will be a fourth Olympics for the Westfield Matildas, following their success in 2000, 2004 and 2016.

Australia's preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games continue in April with two high-profile international friendlies against world champions United States of America and Canada, on Friday, 10 April 2020 and Tuesday, 14 2020 respectively (local time).

But for now, the Westfield Matildas will return their focus to club football - with many involved in this weekend's Westfield W-League Finals Series. 

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Ante Milicic made two changes from the eleven which beat The Golden Girls 5-0 in Newcastle five days earlier. 

Elise Kellond-Knight replaced Tameka Yallop at the base of midfield, while Kyah Simon dropped to the bench for Hayley Raso, who was deployed on the right of a front three.

As a result, Chloe Logarzo stepped back into the midfield. 

Key moments

A power failure inside 60 seconds stopped play for 20 minutes, but when play resumed, it was Sam Kerr who sparked Australia into life. 

Kerr - who minutes earlier had hit the underside of the post after she was slipped through on goal by Foord - opened the scoring after knocking Steph Catley's cross past Vietnam number one Tran Thi Kim Thanh with a tidy volleyed finish.

It was a goal that moved the captain into outright second on the all-time Westfield Matildas scoring charts - the Chelsea forward's 42nd effort in 88 games. 

Australia began to turn the screw and having broken the deadlock herself, Kerr turned provider as Raso put Australia 2-0 up on 27 minutes.

Foord again unlocked the crowded Vietnam defence with another incisive, deft pass, and with Kerr baring down on goal against Kim Thanh, the Green and Gold skipper unselfishly squared the ball across to the Bristol City forward Raso to tap in her sixth international goal.

Australia pressed on in search of a third. Emily van Egmond headed wide, Foord had an effort blocked, and the Westfield Matildas were given the chance to make it another three-goal first half against the Southeast Asian giants when Arsenal star Foord was felled in the area by Pham Thi Tuoi,

Kerr had beaten Kim Thanh from the spot in Newcastle last Friday but it was Logarzo who stepped up this time at the Cẩm Phả Stadium. However, the ex-Sydney FC maestro saw her effort tipped away by Kim Thanh and Kellond-Knight was unable to put in the rebound.

Milicic sent Karly Roestbakken on for Ellie Carpenter as a half time substitute as Foord and Kerr combined to keep the pressure firmly on the hosts, with keeper Kim Thanh called into action to make some fantastic saves.

First, she knocked Polkinghorne's header over the bar before acrobatically palming a sweetly-struck free kick from Alanna Kennedy around the post.

Van Egmond fired over the bar after plucking Polkinghorne's long ball out of the sky with a lovely touch as Australia continued the pressure, but it was Vietnam who scored next when Kennedy misjudged a back pass to Lydia Williams, allowing Huynh Nhu to capitalise and net her nation's first ever goal against Australia. 

The home side rallied impressively following Huynh Nhu's historic effort, although Kim Thanh remained the busier of the two keepers.

A Kerr snapshot forced the Vietnam shot stopper into a great reflex save and ten minutes later, Polkinghorne header Logarzo's cross onto the post. 

Be sure to follow all the reaction - including player interviews and analysis - from tonight's win over Vietnam on the official Matildas website.

Or, keep an eye on the Matildas’ TwitterFacebook and Instagram pages.


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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

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 

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