Young Matildas downed by Japan

The Westfield Young Matildas have opened their 2015 AFC U-19 Championships campaign with a 2-0 defeat against Japan.

Two goals inside the first 30 minutes to Rikako Kobayashi proved the difference in a hard-fought encounter in Nanjing, China.

Despite a bright start by Ante Juric’s side, Japan opened the scoring on 11 minutes when Kobayashi slotted home after a failed defensive clearance.

The lead was doubled 18 minutes later from a clever set-piece, Kobayashi volleying home Nana Ichise’s cross after a short corner set play.

It was a much improved performance from the Young Matildas after the break and they were unlucky not to get back into the contest.

Skipper Amy Harrison rattled the woodwork with a thunderbolt strike midway through the second half, while Angela Beard also went close to halving the deficit.

Goalkeeper Teagan Micah also stood tall, making a couple of crucial saves late in the match to keep the score at 2-0.

Overall there were some positives for the side to take out heading into Thursday’s must-win clash against China.

The Young Matildas end the group stage against Uzbekistan on the weekend.