Latsko winner keeps Sydney FC's Championship defence alive
Melbourne: Veronica Latsko was Sydney FC’s hero after her early strike proved enough to down Melbourne Victory, 1-0, and put the defending W-League Champions back into the Grand Final.
The 24-year-old American striker showed her poacher’s instincts in the 14th minute to net her third goal of the season, a campaign which started late as she recovered from an ACL tear that forced her to spend six months on the sidelines.
After the Sky Blues took a slender lead into the sheds, Victory came out all guns blazing in the second half but the home side’s most dangerous threats – Natasha Dowie and Darian Jenkins – were kept shackled at Epping Stadium.
Olympic qualification a dream come true for Australia’s Raso
Quang Ninh: Australia forward Hayley Raso revealed her delight at securing qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, declaring the achievement a dream come true after scoring in her side’s 7-1 aggregate win over Vietnam on Wednesday.
The pacey winger, who recently inked a deal with FA Women’s Super League outfit Everton, put the Matildas’ presence in April’s Tokyo 2020 draw beyond any doubt when she poked home a simple tap-in to make 2-0 on the night, and 7-0 on aggregate, in the 27th minute.
One of the few players in the Australian squad to have been absent from their travelling party for the Rio 2016 Games, Raso is now set to fulfill a long-held ambition by appearing at the Olympics.
Quang Ninh: Australia head coach Ante Milicic commended his players after they sealed their place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by completing a 7-1 aggregate triumph with a 2-1 win over Vietnam on Wednesday.
The Matildas overcame a number of off-field complications, including playing Wednesday’s final match in a closed stadium due to Covid-19 precautions, but they were rarely tested on the pitch, going five games unbeaten to secure a second successive Olympic berth.
Huynh Nhu dedicates historic strike to absent fans
Quang Ninh: Vietnamese women’s national team captain Hunyh Nhu has reflected on scoring her side’s first ever goal against Australia, dedicating her long-range strike to fans unable to attend Wednesday’s Olympic qualifying play-off at Cam Pha Stadium.
The 55th minute strike wasn’t enough to drag Vietnam to a maiden Olympic appearance – with their 2-1 defeat on the night part of a 7-1 aggregate loss – but it did provide evidence of significant progress for the Southeast Asian side.
They had been beaten 8-0 by the Australians less than two years ago, suffered a resounding 11-0 defeat back in 2015, and never had found the net against the Matildas at senior level, with Nhu’s delicate long-range strike earning the diminutive forward a slice of history.
Quang Ninh: Vietnam’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifying play-off against Australia may have ended in defeat, but head coach Mai Duc Chung emerged a satisfied man after his side produced a much-improved performance in a 2-1 loss on Wednesday.
Beaten 5-0 in the first leg in Newcastle five days earlier, Vietnam looked to be headed for another heavy defeat when they went 2-0 down before the half-hour mark, but the Southeast Asians rallied after half-time, scoring a first ever goal against the Matildas via captain Huynh Nhu’s 55th minute strike from distance.
The 2-1 result was a far cry from the 8-0 defeat Vietnam suffered at the hands of Australia less than two years ago, and Duc Chung said his side’s showing was a testament to their spirit.
Frisco: Olympic hosts Japan completed a forgettable SheBelieves Cup campaign, falling to a 3-1 defeat against FIFA Women’s World Cup holders the United States to finish the tournament without a point on Wednesday.
Asako Takakura’s side had more possession and more shots at goal, but the Americans sealed the title at the round-robin event thanks to goals from Megan Rapinoe, Christen Press and Lindsday Horan.
For the second time in the tournament, Japan found the net through mercurial forward Mana Iwabuchi, who reduced the margin to 2-1 in the 58th minute, but the Asian champions were unable to salvage a positive result.