Commbank Junior Matildas defeated by U17 Asian champions Japan

The Commbank Junior Matildas have been beaten 4-1 in their second U17 Asian Cup group game by reigning champions Japan.

Head Coach Rae Dower made three changes to her starting side that faced China PR just three days earlier, while rewarding Indiana Dos Santos for her strong domestic campaign, with the captaincy for Friday’s match.

The changes included a start for Ruby Cuthbert in the backline, captain Dos Santos was promoted following a short appearance against China, while Annabelle Yates was rewarded for her tireless effort in the middle after being introduced late on Tuesday.

The reigning champions, Japan, showed their class early, with striker Momo Sato controlling a long cross with her chest, while managing to swivel past her marker in the one motion. The forward then made no mistake in front of goal, giving our opponents an early lead.

It was Sato again on the scoresheet in the 10th minute, finding herself on the end of a low-floated cross along the penalty box, tapping home from close range.

Australia’s best chance of the first half came from a swift counter-attack on the half-hour mark, with Indiana Dos Santos splitting the two Japanese centre-backs with an exquisite through ball to an on-running Sienna Dale.

Dale picked up the ball at speed just after the halfway line, finding her way into the penalty box, with her effort rising just above the crossbar.

Goalkeeper Caoimhe Bray saved the Young Matildas early in the second half, with a point-blank stop to her right, denying the strong near-post shot from forward Shinjo.

Coach Dower brought on her reinforcements to help change the momentum, Danella Butrus at half-time, then a double change 15 minutes later, with attackers Mikayla Duong and Alice Francou introduced.

Shortly after, Japan struck in their third, this time from the previously denied Shinjo who rounded the keeper before slotting her attempt into the net.

A fourth was scored just minutes later, this time from a stunning long-range effort from Hirakawa.

Australia deserved a goal and managed to get one in injury time thanks to a penalty won by an industrious run into the box by substitute Butrus, who was tripped trying to cut the ball toward goal.

Captain Indiana Dos Santos was on-hand from the spot and made no mistake, firing her penalty into the top-left corner of the goal.

The Commbank Junior Matildas move forward, with their final group game against Thailand taking place on Monday evening.

Australia v Thailand

Date: Monday, 13 May 2024

Kick-off: 4.00pm (local) / 6.00pm AEST

Venue: Bali United Training Center, Bali

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