Sienna Dale was the four-goal hero as the CommBank Junior Matildas have capped off their AFC U-17 Women’s Asian Cup qualifying campaign with a 4-0 victory over Bangladesh.
The win means that Australia has qualified in style for the AFC U-17 Women’s Asian Cup Indonesia 2024™, finishing top of Group B with nine out of nine points.
Australia came out of the blocks firing and opened the scoring within the first two minutes. A cross from Madeline Caspers found Dale at the back post, who scored the only goal of the half with a deflected finish.
Chloe Parker entered the game midway through the first half after injury forced centre-back and new Brisbane Roar signing Ruby Cuthbert off the pitch.
Bangladesh were threatening on the counter, particularly towards the later stages of the half, but goalkeeper Jessica Skinner – starting for the first time in the tournament – was equal to the challenge.
The second half saw Lillian Skelly entering the field of play and she immediately made her presence felt from set pieces. After a period of sustained pressure, a corner was met by Dale who strongly headed it home to make it two.
Less than five minutes later, the Manly United player was at it again. Dale was teed up by Shelby McMahon just outside the area and took her opportunity, her long-range effort just sneaking in under the crossbar to complete her hat-trick.
Tiana Fuller and Emma Dundas entered play in the 70th minute and both would have an impact on the game. Not content with just three goals, Dale was yet again in the right place to receive a cross from the substitute Dundas and tuck it into the bottom corner to make it four goals for Australia.
Fuller, meanwhile, came close to putting the icing on the cake late in the game, a solo run and shot nestling into the side netting.
It was the perfect finish to the tournament for Australia. Rae Dower’s side will now begin preparations for the AFC U-17 Women’s Asian Cup Indonesia 2024™.
Australia U-17: 4 (Sienna Dale 2' 57' 61' 74')
Tournament: 2024 AFC U-17 Women's Asian Cup Round 2 Qualifiers - Group B
Date: Sunday 24 September 2023
Venue: Yanmar Field, Vietnam Youth Football Training Center, Hanoi
Kick-off: 4:00pm (Local) / 7:00pm AEST
Referee: Yoshimi Yamashita (Japan)
Assistant Referees: Riiohlang Dhar (India) & Fang Yan (China PR)
Fourth Official: Supiree Testhomya (Thailand)
Australia: 1. Jessica Skinner (GK), 3. Amelia Tartaglia, 4. Ruby Cuthbert (23. Chloe Parker 26'), 5. Madeleine Caspers (20. Lillian Skelly 45'), 7. Shelby McMahon (22. Emma Dundas 70'), 8. Talia Younis, 9. Grace Kuilamu (c)(21. Tiana Fuller 70'), 11. Sienna Dale, 14. Annabelle Yates, 15. Sian Dewey, 16. Ava Carlson (17. Mikayla Duong 45')
Substitutes not used: 2. Kiera Meyers, 6. Ischia Brooking, 10. Indiana Dos Santos, 12. Georgia Ritchie (GK), 13. Isabela Hoyos, 18. Layla Adams (GK), 19. Georgia Groidis
Comments from Head Coach, Rae Dower, following the victory:
"I'm extremely proud of the entire team for the way they've gone about this whole tournament. To finish today with 3 from 3 wins is extremely pleasing and again for the players to overcome a massive electrical storm just prior to the game, disrupting their warm-up and playing on a waterlogged pitch shows how adaptable and flexible they are," she said.
With six games played at the Vietnam Youth Football Training Center over the course of five days, the field started to play a part in the game.
"The poor quality surface meant it wasn't going to be the free-flowing football that we would have liked to play, but again we found a way to connect our passes, combine and create many goal-scoring opportunities. Not wanting to ever single out any one player in particular as it's always a team effort, but Sienna Dale had a night she'll never forget scoring all 4 goals," she explained.
"Overall, we couldn't be happier with the tournament. We've topped the group with 3 solid wins, taken away a number of learning moments to help us continually improve and we've got another swag of lifetime memories to go home with. A huge shout-out goes to the players and particularly the incredible staff that helped to make this such an enjoyable and successful tour."
"We'll get together again soon to continue our preparations for the Asian Cup next April. In the meantime, the players will get home from here and have a good rest, then a number of them will head straight into Liberty A-Leagues pre-season training. For others, the U16 National Youth Championships kick off on 9 October in Wollongong, so it will be great to see them playing there. It's another opportunity to identify potential players to keep adding to the depth of this group." Dower concluded.