After the recent successes of the Matildas, it was a shock to wake up to the disappointing news of a Matilda’s lapse after being downed by an inexperienced, tenth ranked Canada 2-0 over night.
More shockingly, came the news that Canada had scored the quickest goal in women’s football Olympic history after Canada’s Janine Beckie scored inside twenty seconds.
The goal came after a poor pass from Laura Alleway to Alana Kennedy who furthered the insult allowing Canadian striker Christine Sinclair to nutmeg her and set up Beckie.
Australia shook off the disaster start and began to control the tempo of the match and when Michelle Heyman caught Canada’s defender Shelina Zadorsky off guard it looked like the proven Matilda’s resilience would once again prove the difference. That was until Zadorsky in a one v one ‘last woman’ battle, tugged at the shirt of Heyman to earn herself a red card and early exit from the match.
The Matilda’s almost earned the equalizer after Elise Kellond-Knight hit the crossbar from the resulting free kick.
It seemed like only a matter of time, but another two attempts went begging after Heyman mistimed two other perfectly good opportunities.
This is not the first time that the Matilda’s have struggled to convert against lesser ranked teams, but after the huge budget afforded by the FFA and intense preparation in Brazil on the back of Women’s World Cup success, it was deemed that these days were probably over.
In the second half, Matilda’s manager Alen Stajcic, brought Lisa De Vanna and Kyah Simon into the fray, but even they couldn’t provide the boost to get over the determined Canadian defense.
Unfortunately, despite Australia having twenty shots on net to Canada’s eight it was disappointing that the green and gold could not capitalise on their weakened opponents.
A few minutes later, it looked like Canada were going to add insult to injury after a handball decision was directed at Caitlin Foord defending a corner, but the Canucks failed to convert after glove woman Lydia Williams stopped a poor spot kick from the Canadian striker.
With ten minutes to go Stajcic pushed everybody forward, including goalkeeper Williams who was caught out near half field after Canadian Sinclair reacted to a cleared ball only to beat Williams and slot one in to an empty net.
“I’m a bit disappointed in myself” said Heyman, reiterating that they did not do enough to take advantage of their weakened opponents.
By Paul Brown - On location in Dubai