Preview - MD3 Group A: Australia vs Bangladesh
Chonburi: While their ticket to the semi-finals is yet to be officially stamped, Australia will be targeting a big score against Bangladesh on Saturday as they look to overhaul Japan and finish the AFC U-16 Women's Championship Thailand 2019's opening stage as Group A winners.
Doing so would put the Junior Matildas into a knockout stage meeting with Group B’s runners-up, rather than the winners, meaning - with a place in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India awaiting the successful teams in next Wednesday’s semi-finals - there is ample incentive for Australia to continue the scoring spree they enjoyed against Thailand.
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“Goal difference is very important and that’s probably the only disappointing aspect to take out of the Thailand game,” said Australian head coach Rae Dower.
“It’s hard to be disappointed when you have such a clinical performance, but the amount of goals that we scored probably wasn’t where it should have been and we’re acutely aware that the goal difference can play a part in the placings and the seedings.
“That’s something that we need to be better at anyway, being more clinical in front of goal.”
While Australia are focused on taking their campaign into a second week for the first time since 2009, Bangladesh will be hoping to end their own participation in the tournament on a high after suffering a 9-0 loss to Japan on Wednesday.
The heavy defeat equalled the result Bangladesh suffered against DPR Korea in the opening match of their 2017 campaign, but head coach Golam Robbani Choton said his side had recovered bravely on that occasion and backed them to do so again against Australia.
“In the last edition, our girls suffered a loss to DPR Korea with the same margin, but despite that, our girls showed good games in the following matches, even when we eventually lost 3-2 to Australia,” said Choton, who also coaches the senior women’s national team.
“Our girls have produced good results to qualify for the Finals for a second time, and that is proof of our development. We will tell our girls to forget about the result against Japan and motivate them for the match against Australia.”
While Bangladeshi hopes of being the first South Asian nation to reach the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship semi-finals have been dashed with a game to spare, Choton’s side can still make history by becoming the first team from the nation to take competition points at the Finals.
AUSTRALIA v BANGLADESH
IPE Chonburi Stadium, Chonburi
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