February 24, 2024

Olympics qualifier LIVE: Matildas knocking on the door but Uzbekistan holding firm

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Mary Fowler makes it two!

Obviously sick of seeing her teammates waste chances, Mary Fowler has just taken matters into her own hands, dribbling through midfield and unleashing from the top of the box. The Matildas are 2-0 up.

Wonderful finish, too – low and hard into the bottom-left corner, it skids beautifully into the net. That’s all class.


More changes for the Matildas

Tony Gustavsson has gone to his bench again – Hayley Raso and Alanna Kennedy have come off, and Tameka Yallop and Aivi Luik are on to see out the final 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, Ellie Carpenter just missed – and only just. Mary Fowler’s cross was amazing, and Carpenter did well to meet it at the far post, but from a narrow angle, she puts it over the bar.

UZB 0-1 AUS – 83′


They want a second

You can tell that goal has lifted Australia’s spirits and almost broken Uzbekistan’s. They were doing so well there for a while.

The Matildas are looking to double their advantage and are continuing the pressure – cross after cross, corner after corner. Clare Hunt’s just put another lofted ball over the target. So many aerial chances tonight. If only Sam Kerr was there to finish some of them off…

UZB 0-1 AUS – 80′


That’s a massive Matildas moment

If you’re new to the Tillies you might not know that, not so long ago, Michelle Heyman was as iconic as any of your favourite players in her pomp – Kerr, Foord, Catley, Fowler, you name it, she was on that level. She was part of the national team furniture.

For a long time, it looked like her international days are done, but we might remember that as a really important goal – not just for the Matildas’ hopes of qualifying for the Olympics but perhaps Heyman’s own hopes of going along to Paris with them.



She’s done it!

From Australia’s seventh corner, Michelle Heyman scores! It’s 1-0 to the Matildas!

Steph Catley’s delivery hits Clare Hunt in the shoulder, then richochets onto the crossbar… and Heyman is the quickest to react. She gets a head on the ball and nods it into the net.

She’s been waiting a long time for that. Six years, in fact. That’s a striker’s instinct, right there.

UZB 0-1 AUS – 73′


Corner kick number six for Australia

Australia wins a corner after a slick move spearheaded by Michelle Heyman, who dishes it out to Hayley Raso… I don’t know if that was a cross or a shot, but it ended up being, somehow, both and neither at the same time. Anyway, the Matildas get a corner kick, but it’s cleared.

Surely this pressure is going to pay off soon?

UZB 0-0 AUS – 71′


Gorry puts another shot wide

Not a bad chance there for Australia – created by Caitlin Foord as she drove through the middle of the park. She was fouled as she approached the box, but the referee paid advantage, the ball spilled into Katrina Gorry’s path, and she had a crack from a long way out. Only ended up missing to the right by a metre or two, I think, without having seen a replay to confirm that.

UZB 0-0 AUS – 70′


Ooft! She nearly scored!

I think that’s her first touch – and it’s nearly a beauty from Michelle Heyman, producing a glancing header at the near post to meet Steph Catley’s corner kick, and only just putting it over the bar. That’s a great early sign from her and important for her to get on the ball so soon after coming on. She wants this.

UZB 0-0 AUS – 67′


Michelle Heyman is coming on!

Tony Gustavsson must have heard me yelling at the telly all the way from Tashkent. Michelle Heyman has removed her bib and is ready to come on – six years after her last appearance for the Matildas.

Emily van Egmond comes off.

A great story is waiting to be written here. Can Heyman be the difference?

UZB 0-0 AUS – 65′


Fowler blazes over…

Now it’s Mary Fowler’s turn. Hayley Raso slides the ball across the box, a difficult bouncing ball to control – good thing it finds Fowler, the most technically gifted Australian footballer in the game. She gets it under enough control to take a shot, but again, it can’t find the target.

With every Matildas miss, the Uzbeks will surely be growing in confidence. Not that they’re threatening to score themselves – not even close, actually, they’ve done nothing in their own attacking half – but this is some achievement so far by them, to keep the world’s fourth-best team (according to the World Cup) scoreless for over an hour now.

UZB 0-0 AUS – 60′

Mary Fowler can’t break the deadlock.Credit: Getty

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