CommBank Young Matildas fall to six-time champions Japan 5-1

The CommBank Young Matildas have been defeated in the AFC U20 Women’s Asian Cup 2024™ semi-final, falling to a superb Japan 5-1.

Goals to Hiromi Yoneda, Uno Shiragaki, Maya Hijikata, and Chinari Sasai, as well as an own goal off Australia’s Naomi Chinnama, sealed the result for the six-time champions. Peta Trimis scored the only CommBank Young Matildas goal.

It was the fourth time that Australia have made the semi-finals of an AFC U20 Women’s Asian Cup and they will now have the chance to equal their best-ever finish of 2006 when they take on Korea Republic in the third-place match on Saturday.

Head Coach Leah Blayney made three changes to the side that defeated Chinese Taipei in the third group stage game. Indiana Dos Santos, Maddie Caspers and Milly Boughton came into the side in place of Shay Hollman, Kahli Johnson and Claudia Cicco. That meant that the team was the same as the one that defeated Korea Republic in game one.

Japan started on the front foot and immediately made the most of their early possession. A whipped corner that the Young Matildas failed to clear found defender Hiromi Yoneda at the back post, who was able to head it home to open the scoring for Nadeshiko.

Australia struggled to deal with the intensity of Japan’s attacking play. Suzu Amano came close after getting on the end of a pinpoint Rio Sasaki cross, and Chloe Lincoln made a superb save to quickly come off her line and smother a chance from Ai Tsujisawa minutes later.

Australia's Starting XI for their game against Japan at the 2024 AFC U-20 Women's Asian Cup. (Photo: AFC)

Australia’s Starting XI for their game against Japan at the 2024 AFC U-20 Women’s Asian Cup. (Photo: AFC)

Regardless of the way the momentum is going, it only takes one chance to score a goal. Moments after defending another set piece, a fine ball from Milly Boughton found Peta Trimis in space behind the Japanese defence. Trimis made no mistake in a one-on-one situation and slotted it past the goalkeeper to score her third of the tournament. Against the run of play, the Young Matildas were level.

Japan dominated the first half, with 24 shots to 1 and over 75% possession. A steadfast defensive performance and some stellar saves from Lincoln meant that despite all of that, the teams went into the break level.

As the game went on, there were muted signs that the momentum was beginning to shift. The intensity of Japan’s play began to slightly drop off, and their fast-paced passing showed the first signs of being fallible. The increased possession allowed half-time substitute Lara Gooch to show off her speed in transition and cause some issues for Japan’s defence.

However, it would be from another corner that Japan would re-take the lead. First-half goalscorer Yoneda’s centre-back partner, Uno Shiragaki, rose highest at the front post. Her header took a series of deflections past Lincoln and into the back of the net to make it 2-1.

Madeline Caspers on the ball for the CommBank Young Matildas during their semi-final clash against Japan at the 2024 AFC U-20 Women's Asian Cup. (Photo: AFC)

Madeline Caspers on the ball for the CommBank Young Matildas during their semi-final clash against Japan at the 2024 AFC U-20 Women’s Asian Cup. (Photo: AFC)

As the Young Matildas pushed for an equaliser, more space opened up for Japan. Maya Hijikata made sure of the result with a well-placed finish in the top corner of the net in the 83rd minute.

Where they struggled to convert their chances in the first half, suddenly, the goals were flowing. Chinari Sasai added a fourth in the 88th minute and an unlucky deflection off Naomi Chinnama made it 5-1 moments later, which would be the final score.

Japan showed all of the qualities of a team that finished second in the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup 2022™. They were technical, well-organised and thoroughly deserved their win. They will take on DPR Korea in the final on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the CommBank Young Matildas will hope to make it two wins from two against Korea Republic in the third/fourth place match. If they can do so, it will equal the team’s best-ever finish at the tournament.

3rd/4th Place Play-Off

Australia v Korea Republic

Date: Saturday, 16 March 2024

Kick-off: 1.00pm (local) / 7.00pm AEDT

Venue: JAR Stadium, Tashkent

Broadcast: 10 Play

Match Details

Australia U-20: 1 (Peta Trimis 13′)

Japan U-20: 5 (Hiromi Yoneda 3′, Uno Shiragaki 63′, Maya Hijikata 83′, Chinari Sasai 88′ & Naomi Chinnama (OG) 89′)

Tournament: AFC U-20 Women’s Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2024™

Date: Wednesday, 13 March 2024

Kick-off: 4.00pm (local) / 10.00pm AEDT

Venue: JAR Stadium, Tashkent

Referee: Dong Fangyu (China PR)

Assistant Referees: Xie Lijun (China PR) & Supawan Hinthong (Thailand)

Fourth Official: Chaisanit Pansa (Thailand)

Australia U-20 XI: 1. Chloe Lincoln (GK), 5. Jessika Nash (C), 7. Milly Boughton (19. Gooch 46′), 10. Daniela Galic, 13. Peta Trimis (8. Murphy 77′), 14. Zara Kruger (6. Hollman 84′), 15. Alexia Apostolakis, 17. Madeline Caspers (16. Cicco 64′), 20. Indiana Dos Santos (11. Johnson 77′), 21. Naomi Chinnama, 23. Sasha Grove

Substitutes not used: 2. Tijan McKenna, 3. Tegan Bertolissio, 4. Gemma Ferris, 9. Jynaya Dos Santos, 12. Tahlia Franco (GK), 18. Grace Wilson, 22. Georgia Cassidy

Yellow Card: Nil

Red Card: Nil

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