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Group A: Australia 3-1 Thailand


Chonburi: Australia threw themselves an AFC U-19 Women’s Championship Thailand 2019 lifeline on Wednesday as they defeated Thailand 3-1 to move third in Group A and remain in contention for a place in the semi-finals.

Mary Fowler’s first-half brace and a Courtney Nevin set-piece special helped secure the vital three-point haul for Australia on a night when host nation Thailand’s title aspirations were extinguished despite a determined performance.

The result, which also saw table-topping DPR Korea confirmed as the first team through to the last four, leaves Australia needing to beat Vietnam on Saturday to be assured of their progress through to the knockout phase.

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With both sides desperate to avoid defeat and defences dominating, chances were few and far between in the game’s opening stages until, following neat approach play, Australia took the lead thanks to Mary Fowler’s angled drive which beat the diving Ponpimon Ngoenphon on 17 minutes.

Clearly buoyed by their opener, Australia continued to hassle and harry their Southeast Asian counterparts as first Nevin flashed a 29th minute shot narrowly wide of the target and then Princess Ibini was denied by a smart Ponpimon save.

One was to become two for Australia on the stroke of half-time, however, when the irrepressible Mary Fowler drilled in her second of the night from fully 20 yards.

Australia were quickly into their stride after the break. Ibini prodded an effort inches past the left-hand upright before Nevin added a third for the Young Matildas courtesy of a pinpoint free-kick with 55 minutes played.

To their credit, Thailand refused to buckle and they duly reduced the deficit on 63 minutes, Pattaranan Aupachai making the most of Australian defensive hesitancy to head home past Annalee Grove.

Moments later, Grove was on hand to expertly repel Phonchita Thaenprathum’s curling strike as the resilient Thais briefly threatened to find a way back into the encounter.

It was not to be though as, after Mary Fowler had brought no fewer than three fine saves out of an alert Ponpimon, Australia held firm to claim the victory and set up their must-win meeting with Vietnam.


Leah Blayney: Australia head coach

“I am very pleased with the team’s performance tonight. We were very good at progressing forward and the quality of our possession in terms of creating goalscoring opportunities was definitely an improvement. Mary Fowler’s finishes were excellent on the back of a good build-up. As you saw in the celebration she is very much team orientated and the girls celebrated the goals as a team which was fantastic.”

Arun Tulwattanangkul: Thailand head coach

"We are disappointed with the result but we have to admire the Australian team who are a very good side. In the second half we tried to press from the back more, we tried our best to change the course of the game but, as I said, we have to applaud Australia.”

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