Written by the Football Federation Australia
The Qantas Matildas have drawn 0-0 with China in the first of a two-match series played tonight at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford.
China ranked ninth in the world, seven positions above Australia, started brightly but the home side dominated lengthy periods of the match. The Qantas Matildas appeared to have broken the deadlock with 20 minutes remaining when striker Kate Gill got on the end of a Collette McCallum cross to spectacularly volley past the goalkeeper, only to be denied by the offside flag.
Sally Shipard tested the goalkeeper with several headed attempts at goal as Australia laid siege to the Chinese goal late in the match. Substitutes Lisa De Vanna and Collette McCallum also made inroads as the visitors started to tire in the dying stages.
The Australians though unable to turn territorial domination into a decisive strike on goal.
”Overall I was pleased with performance against a strong opponent,” says Qantas Matildas coach Tom Sermanni.
”We started a little tentatively but I was impressed that we were able to lift the intensity and maintain that right until the final whistle.
”The fact that players were able to come on and make an impression shows we are developing good depth in the squad.”
It was the fourth consecutive match the Australian defence has kept the opposition scoreless following on from the team’s successful tour of the USA last month.
Australia and China will play a second international ahead of next week’s Round 15 Hyundai A-League blockbuster between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory at Aussie Stadium on Saturday 3 December.
Before then the two teams will also have a practice match at the Mingara Recreational Club on the Central Coast on Thursday 1 December.
The Chinese will round out their tour schedule with a practice match against the Qantas Young Matildas also at Mingara on Monday 28 November.
The qualifying tournament for the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup is currently scheduled for July next year, with both the final tournament and the 2008 Olympic Games to be held in China.