Written by the Football Federation Australia
The Qantas Matildas have begun their 6-match tour of Asia with a 1-2 loss to top Chinese Club team Tianjin FC in front of a 4000-strong crowd at the Tianjin Minyuan Stadium.
Qantas Matildas coach, Tom Sermanni, began the match with an "experimental' formation with Lana Harch partnering Sarah Walsh up front and Kim Carroll in the midfield.
In the hot-humid conditions, both sides had many opportunities to score in the first half but were unable to register any goals. Tianjin, boasting five internationals (3 Chinese & 2 Nigerian), came close in the 10th minute, but Heather Garriock, was able to clear off the line to deny the hosts an opening goal.
Tianjin seemed to have broken the deadlock in the 36th minute when a header found the back of the net, but the attempt was adjudged to be off-side. Australian goalkeeper, Melissa Barbieri, made a great diving save shortly before the half-time to keep her goal intact. The Qantas Matildas were unlucky to go to the break without the advantage when Sarah Walsh made a break down the left and cut back to midfielder Kim Carroll, but unfortunately Carroll's resulting shot went wide.
At half-time, Tom Sermanni made seven changes, replacing Cheryl Salisbury, Rhian Davies, Caitlin Munoz, Jess Mitchell, Sarah Walsh, Kim Carroll, Karla Reuter with Kate McShea, Dianne Alagich, Alicia Ferguson, Joanne Peters, Katie Gill, Collette McCallum and Leah Blayney.
The Qantas Matilda's had the early opportunities in the second half with Harch hitting the crossbar soon after the re-start. Their patience paid off in the 65th minute when substitute Leah Blayney broke the deadlock with a solid finish from the edge of the 18-yard box following a cutback from Katie Gill on the left.
Shortly after the opening goal Sermanni made an additional two changes with Lisa De Vanna replacing Heather Garriock and Melissa Barbieri handing Lydie Williams her first taste of senior national team football as goalkeeper.
Unfortunately for Williams, a fumbled high-ball allowed Tianjin to net an equaliser in the 75th minute from close range. The home team then found the lead two minutes later when a breakaway was slotted past Williams from the edge of the box.
Lisa De Vanna did have an opportunity to equaliser for the Qantas Matildas late in the game but her attempt ricocheted off the crossbar.
At the conclusion of the match, Qantas Matildas coach Tom Sermanni was pleased with the effort of his team considering the difficult weather conditions and the fact that they were up against such strong opposition.