Sam Kerr scored twice for the Matildas. Picture: AAP
Sam Kerr scored twice for the Matildas. Picture: AAP

Kerr at the double as Matildas beat Chile

Update: Sam Kerr was who the people came to see, and it was Sam Kerr who topped and tailed a 2-1 Matildas win over Chile - even if the bits in between weren't so inspiring.

Bankwest Stadium played host to a brace from Australia's mercurial captain, days before one of the world's most marketable football faces finally announces her next club destination, which she hinted could be a lucrative move to Chelsea.

And as Ante Milicic's side overcame the plucky South Americans in the first of two home friendlies yesterday afternoon, they also smashed the attendance record for a standalone home fixture, with 20,029 easily eclipsing the 16,829 that turned out in Newcastle in 2017.

The Matildas stretched Chile and forced Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Christiane Endler into the type of saves that make her one of the world's best goalkeepers.

But the home domination wasn't matched by accurate finishing, and Camila Saez got one back for Chile in a tense final 10 minutes.

"For the majority of the game we were decent and in control," Milicic said.

"But at the same time I felt the game should have been over a lot earlier, and until we can do that we won't be able to improve at the level we want to.

"To have a nervous last 10 minutes is unnecessary but overall there were a lot of things to like."

Matildas supporters at Bankwest Stadium. Picture: Getty Images
Matildas supporters at Bankwest Stadium. Picture: Getty Images
 

KERR'S MATURITY SHINES THROUGH

And it took less than three minutes. Hayley Raso won a free-kick and Emily van Egmond's delivery fell to the star striker. She chested it down and hit it sweetly into the bottom corner. Then, in the 72nd minute, she put away her 11th goal from 10 games this calendar year. If there's any evidence of the 26-year-old's growth in recent years it's her national-team statistics. This was Kerr's 30th goal in her last 31 outings for Australia. Before that she scored eight in 51. With 38 international goals, she now sits level with Cheryl Salisbury as equal third-highest scorer of all time.

 

BUT SHE MUST BE IN SYNC WITH FOORD

There were too many moments Kerr and long-time partner in crime Caitlin Foord were on different wavelengths. When these two are on point they can do damage like last year's 5-0 demolition of this very team in Newcastle. They finally found their groove in the second half when Foord took a deft first touch between two opponents and dropped a ball over the top for Kerr to make it 40 goals in 40 games for clubs and country in 2019.

 

Chile’s Rocio Soto tackles Matildas star Chloe Logarzo. Picture: AAP
Chile’s Rocio Soto tackles Matildas star Chloe Logarzo. Picture: AAP

 

NOT ALWAYS SO SLICK

There's no denying the Matildas boast star attacking quality. Kerr's goal return speaks for itself, Raso and Foord create havoc and Carpenter is already one of the world's best right-backs at 19. But 17 shots count for little if you run out of final-third ideas. Time and again the Matildas were undone by indecision, a touch too many or a sluggish run. The missing finesse was on display 10 minutes before halftime when Kerr 10 minutes before halftime, should have tapped home a second off a pinpoint Ellie Carpenter cross. Later, Chloe Logarzo inexplicably skimmed the outside of the post.

 

Australia’s Ellie Carpenter takes on Chile’s Francisca Lara. Picture: AAP
Australia’s Ellie Carpenter takes on Chile’s Francisca Lara. Picture: AAP

McCORMICK MAKES RIGHT CALL

Code-hopper Jenna McCormick will be glad she made the tough decision to give up AFLW and focus on breaking into the Matildas. The two-time Adelaide Crows premiership-winner passed with pace and confidence on debut, starting alongside Clare Polkinhorne in central defence in the absence of suspended Alanna Kennedy. She also took out a defender to allow Kerr space for the opening goal.

DEFENCE NEEDS WORK

It did take 33 minutes for Chile to get their first shot away, when a long-range Daniela Pardo effort sailed just over the bar. But while the Matildas finished with two-thirds possession, they still conceded at the death when Camila Saez stole a header at the near post off a corner. Australia have now conceded 16 goals in 10 games this year.

 

AUSTRALIA 2 (Sam Kerr 3m, 72m) CHILE 1 (Camila Saez 89m) at Bankwest Stadium. Crowd: 20,029. Referee: Rebecca Durcau.

 

 

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News Corp Australia


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