Foord scores 37-minute hat-trick as Westfield Matildas defeat Chinese Taipei
The Westfield Matildas kicked off their Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualification campaign off in style and stormed to the top of Group B after beating Chinese Taipei 7-0 at Campbelltown Stadium on Friday.
Caitlin Foord's 37-minute hat-trick and Steph Catley's finish saw Australia enter the interval with a 4-0 buffer in the nation's opening fixture of the third round of the 2020 AFC Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Ante Milicic's side continued their dominance and added further strikes via Hayley Raso, Sam Kerr and Katrina Gorry, wrapping up a comprehensive victory over Chinese Taipei, ranked 40th in the world, in what is the first of three matches played over the next six days in Sydney, as Australia look to push on toward the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
China PR went top of the group earlier in the afternoon following their 6-1 win over Thailand but were leapfrogged after an impressive performance from Milicic's side in Sydney's south-west, who join the Asian heavyweights on three points but have a superior goal difference.
The opening goal came nine minutes in when Caitlin Foord raced on to Kyah Simon's ball and clipped the ball past Chinese Taipei 'keeper Chen Si Yu - the Arsenal forward's first goal for her country since igniting Australia's famous comeback victory against Brazil at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup.
Raso fashioned the next opportunity by teeing up Emily van Egmond but the Melbourne City maestro put her finish wide on the stretch, before Foord tucked in her second by latching onto van Egmond's pass and rounding Si Yu for her second.
Van Egmond was the creator for Australia's third, spotting Catley's dart into the box with a deft flick, and the Australian left-back matched the assist with an equally measured finish over Si Yu.
Chinese Taipei had not scored in any of their previous five matches against Australia but came so close to pulling one back on the half hour mark only for Chi Ting - who scored the nation's match winner in their 1-0 triumph over Thailand on Monday - could only drag her effort wide after Australia failed to clear their lines.
That miss was punished when Foord swooped for her second international hat-trick. Again, it was another sensational assist from van Egmond, who teed up Foord to complete a first-half treble with a lovely cushioned touch.
Raso drew a strong parry from Si Yu and Simon hit the side netting as Australia went in search of a fifth early in the second, and it was Everton attacker Raso who made it number five by rounding Si Yu for her fourth international goal.
Simon turned in an excellent display in what was the striker's first start for the national team since November 2018 but her time was up on the hour mark when Milicic sent Sam Kerr into the fray, and it took the Chelsea striker and Australian skipper all of three minutes before getting her name onto the scoresheet, finishing confidently past Si Yu after being sent through by Chloe Logarzo.
Gorry iced the cake in stoppage time with her first goal for Australia since 2017.
Milicic's side return to Sydney's south-west to face Thailand on Monday, February 10 (kick off 7.30pm AEDT), before taking on China PR on Thursday, February 13 (kick off 7.30pm AEDT) at Western Sydney Stadium, Parramatta.
The top two teams in Group B will advance to a winner-takes-all, two-legged playoff – set to be played in March – for a spot in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women’s football competition.
All three of the Westfield Matildas matches in this stage of Olympic Games qualifying will be broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports, and the My Football Live App, before being shown ABC TV on a delay.
Match Schedule – Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Qualifiers – Group B
Matchday 3 – Monday 10 February 2020
Campbelltown Stadium, Leumeah
- Chinese Taipei v China PR – 4.30pm AEDT
- Thailand v Australia – 7.30pm AEDT
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Broadcast: Live on FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports, and the My Football Live App – delayed on ABC TV
International viewers: Live streamed via My Football YouTube channel
Matchday 4 – Thursday 13 February 2020
Western Sydney Stadium, Parramatta
- Australia v China PR – 7.30pm AEDT
Broadcast: Live on FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports, and the My Football Live App – delayed on ABC TV.
International viewers - Live streamed via My Football YouTube channel