Westfield Matildas outclassed by Italians

Italy has handed the Westfield Matildas a thumping 5-1 defeat at Canberra Stadium on Saturday evening, in a disappointing international send-off for veteran midfielder Joey Peters.

Italy has handed the Westfield Matildas a thumping 5-1 defeat at Canberra Stadium on Saturday evening, in a disappointing international send-off for veteran midfielder Joey Peters.

Three goals in the opening 20 minutes from an inspired Italian side ripped the heart out of the contest, with captain Patrizia Panico grabbing a hat-trick, while Melania Gabbiadini and Pamela Conti scored the others; while Collette McCallum scored Australia-s only goal midway through the second half.

Matildas coach Tom Sermanni made five changes for the second match, while Italy went unchanged from the 2-2 draw at Parramatta Stadium a week ago. There was a debut game for Ellie Brush, while Jo Peters and recently named Westfield W-League Player of the Year Lana Harch made their first starts for over a year. Tameka Butt was also given a start, while Lydia Williams was given another chance in goals.

Peters was showing the emotion of the occasion for her personally, as she shed a tear or two at the playing of the national anthem.

It was almost the dream start for Peters, who was playing her 110th and final match for Australia, forcing a fine save from Chiara Marchitelli at full stretch after three minutes, keeping out Peters fiercely struck free kick.

That was however as good as it got for the next 20 minutes, as Italy gave Australia-s new look defence a torrid time.

Gabbiadini scored Italy-s opening goal after six minutes, nodding home a cross from the right and four minutes later, Panico scored her first of the night, when she was on hand to nod home from 2 yards, when a back-peddling Williams could only knock a well-placed cross onto the crossbar and the ball falling nicely for the Italian captain.

Eight minutes later, a great ball by Panico played a great ball to Gabbiadini, who beat the offside trap. Williams came out of the penalty area and collided with Gabbiadini and the ball bounced perfectly for Conti, who calmly stroked into the empty net.

Australia came back into the game with a few half chances, Butt inches away from goal on the half hour, with a volley from left corner of the penalty box that went just over the crossbar.

Two minutes later, Conti almost had a fourth goal for Italy, when she played through in behind the defence, but her shot was diverted by Williams legs away from goal.

Right on half time, a great cross from the right by Katie Gill saw Lisa De Vanna dink her header over a stranded Marchitelli, but the ball went agonisingly wide of the back post.

Sermanni rung the changes at half time, bringing on his three most experienced players in Sarah Walsh, Heather Garriock and Collette McCallum to try and get Australia back into the game.

Australia indeed started the second half much better, but another cheap turn over of possession in their own half saw Italy break quickly and Panico was set free into the box and she slid her shot underneath the advancing Williams to make it 4-0 after 57 minutes.

McCallum got Australia on the scoreboard in the 65th minute, although she can thank Marchitelli for that, after she failed to hold McCallum-s 20 metre volley; the ball spilling and then spinning back over the goal line.

Colthorpe had a great chance but pushed her shot wide from Garriock's cross to back post in the 72nd minute, while Panico pounced on poor back pass by Garriock, but shot wide in search of her hat-trick.

The Italian captain-s hat-trick duly arrived with ten minutes remaining; her first time shot from Gabbiadini-s cross, giving Williams no chance.

Peters international career came to an end with six minutes remaining, like Salisbury the week before, getting a terrific cheer from the appreciative crowd and it was her replacement Elise Kellond-Knight who had ended the night on a positive, but she blazed her shot high and wide from the edge of the box.

Match Details

Australia 1 (Collette MCCALLUM 64-) Italy 5 (Melania GABBIADINI 7-, Patrizia PANICO 10-/58-/81-, Pamela CONTI 16-)

Canberra Stadium Crowd: 2,916 Saturday 7 February 2009

Referee: Sara Hodson Assistant Referees: Allyson Flynn, Jacqueline Leleu Fourth official: Kirralee Gardener

Australia line-up: 18.Lydia WILLIAMS (gk), 2.Kate MCSHEA, 3.Karla REUTER (7.Heather GARRIOCK 45-), 6.Amber NEILSON (15.Samantha KERR 76-), 10.Joanne PETERS(c) (20.Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT 84-),11.Lisa DE VANNA, 12.Kathryn GILL (8.Caitlin MUNOZ 59-), 13.Tameka BUTT (9.Sarah WALSH 45-), 16.Lauren COLTHORPE, 17.Lana HARCH (14.Collette MCCALLUM 45-), 22.Ellie BRUSH.

Substitutes not used: 1.Melissa BARBIERI (gk), 4.Clare POLKINGHORNE, 19.Danielle BROGAN.

Yellow cards: Nil. Red cards: Nil.

Italy line-up: 1.Chiara MARCHITELLI (gk), 2.Sara GAMA, 3.Roberta D-ADDA, 4.Alessia TUTTINO, 5.Elisabetta TONA, 6.Viviana SCHIAVI, 8.Melania GABBIADINI (14.Ilaria MAURO 89'), 9.Patrizia PANICO (c) (11.Silvia FUSELLI 84'), 10.Tatiana ZORRI, 18.Pamela CONTI (19.Marta CARISSIMI 74'), 20.Giulia DOMENICHETTI.

Substitutes not used: 7.Venusia PALIOTTI, 12.Anna Maria PICARELLI (gk), 13.Giorgia MOTTA, 16.Laura NEBOLI, 17.Alia GUAGNI, 22.Sara PENZO (gk).

Yellow cards: Alessia TUTTINO 42-. Red cards: Nil.