South Korea take series over Young Matildas

Two first half goals from Meg McLaughlin and Amy Harrison weren’t enough for the Young Matildas as they went down 4-2 to South Korea at the AIS Athletics Field.

Two first half goals from Meg McLaughlin and Amy Harrison weren-t enough for the Young Matildas as they went down 4-2 to South Korea at the AIS Athletics Field.

The result also saw the Young Matildas lose their three game series with the Koreans 2 - 1.

On a cloudy and overcast day in Canberra, the Young Matildas started the match brightly and took an early lead through McLaughlin.

Released into space by Amy Harrison on the left wing, the 18 year old cut inside her marker at pace and fired home low and hard into the far corner past Min Yukyeong.

Buoyed by an early breakthrough, Australia went on the attack creating several chances.

First, captain for the match Chloe Logarzo went on a searching run before laying off to Sydney FC teammate Larissa Crummer. With some lovely footwork, Crummer created space to cut back to Tara Andrews but the striker blasted over the cross bar.

Next it was Rachael Soutar's turn to probe down the right but again Andrews, under tight marking, was unable to convert the cut back this time shooting inches wide.

After absorbing pressure early, South Korea had their first look at goal in the 18th minute when Kim Inji squared up Soutar, cut inside and found the Jang Selgi. However, the far post denied the four goal hero from Wednesday.

Having survived, the Young Matildas went on to double their lead in the next phase of play thanks to an excellent strike from Harrison.

After Australia kept the ball alive in the front third, the loose ball fell to Harrison at the top of the box who fired home from 16 yards out.

Well on top, the Young Matildas went close to extending their lead minutes later when Logarzo latched onto a long throw. Swiveling onto her preferred foot, the midfielder-s stinging strike forced Min to palm away the danger.

Despite their dominance, the Young Matildas were soon to see the visitors peg one back through a brilliant individual run from Jang Selgi.

After Australia carelessly gave up the ball in their defensive third, Jang took advantage and evaded a number of defenders before firing home in the 34th minute.

Minutes later her strike partner Kim Inji looked to have grabbed the equalizer only to see her stunning effort slam into the crossbar after beating a diving Sham Khamis.

Just before half time South Korea finally found their equalizer as Jang Selgi eluded the offside trap to find herself with only Khamis to beat which she calmly did.

On the restart the Jang Selgi and the visitors commenced where they left off with the teenager dancing inside but she dragged her effort just wide.

The game then settled into a tight contest with Logarzo, Harrison and Natalie Tobin probing the South Korean defence while Jang Selgi, Choe Yuri and Kim Inji looked to breach the Australian back four.

Tired legs saw the Koreans win the stalemate late in the piece. First through Kim Inji who repeated her earlier effort only this time beating both Khamis and the crossbar to wrest the lead.

Then finally Lee So Dam shut the door on the contest and the series by cutting inside the Australian defence and converting emphatically past a stranded Khamis.

Despite the match and series loss, Young Matildas coach Spencer Prior was encouraged by the week of matches.

“I was wondering where we were at and it shows that we are on the right pathway.”

“It-s been great for the girls to have an understanding of how we want to play against a very good opposition [South Korea].”

“There is still a lot to do. There is still lots and lots that we can work on the ball and off the ball.”

“All I have asked the girls to do is the tasks that we have actually worked on in camp and actually show that they have had a good understanding by applying them.”

Of the Koreans, Prior was also complimentary of one the top teams in the world at the U20 age group.

“I have to praise them. They are a top, top team and they made the game very, very tough at the end and the girls were hanging in there.”

Australia will continue their preparations towards AFC U19 Women-s Champions later this year.

Australia 2 (McLaughlin 3', Harrison 20') South Korea 4 (Jang 34'/39', Kim 68', Lee 73')