Hayley Raso’s debut for English Women’s Super League club Everton has been delayed after the Westfield Matildas attacker had surgery on a broken nose.
The former Brisbane Roar ace caught an elbow to the face during the Green and Gold’s crunch Olympic Games qualifier against China PR earlier this month.
Raso patched up her bloody nose and toughed out the dramatic 1-1 draw which sent Australia through to a winner-takes-all two-legged playoff against Vietnam for a place at Tokyo 2020.
The 25-year-old has become renowned for playing through the pain barrier, and famously took only six months to recover from breaking three vertebrae in her back to return to the field in January 2019 while playing for Portland Thorns in the US National Women's Soccer League.
Raso was due to link up with her new teammates in Merseyside straight after the 2020 AFC Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament, but those plans have been put on ice following the operation.
Raso posted on her Instagram: “Unfortunately broke my nose in a few places last game and needed an operation to straighten it up!”
Raso went under the knife at St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney, and she will aim to heal up ahead of the Westfield Matildas final showdown on their road to Tokyo 2020 against Vietnam, the first of the two-legged affair taking place on Friday, 6 March in Newcastle.
“For now, it’s home time for me to rest and recover.”
ANNOUNCEMENT: Milicic maintains squad symmetry as Matildas target Tokyo
MILICIC REACTION: Continuity key as Westfield Matildas set sights on Vietnam
Match Schedule – Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Play-Off
Australia v Vietnam (Home Leg)
Date: Friday, 6 March 2020
Kick-off: 6.30pm AEDT
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
Broadcast: Live on FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports, ABC iview (delayed on ABC TV) and the My Football Live App
The match will also be streamed LIVE on YouTube for viewers outside of Australia and Vietnam
Vietnam v Australia (Away Leg)
Date: Wednesday, 11 March 2020
Kick-off: 6.00pm local; 10pm AEDT
Venue: Cẩm Phả Stadium, Cẩm Phả, Quảng Ninh Province, Vietnam