The Matildas faced a setback in their second group stage match at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, as Nigeria secured a victory at Brisbane’s Lang Park on Thursday night. Despite scoring the first goal during added time in the first half, Australia couldn’t hold on as the Super Falcons responded with three goals, clinching the win with one goal in the first half and two in the second.
The absence of captain Sam Kerr, still recovering from a calf injury sustained in training, was felt once again, and midfielder Emily van Egmond was brought in to replace Mary Fowler, who, along with Aivi Luik, was ruled out due to a concussion earlier in the week.
The first half of the match showcased intense competition, with Australia dominating possession while Nigeria mounted a sturdy defense. Both teams had close near-misses during the first half, but it was during the five minutes of added injury time that both teams secured their first goals.
Van Egmond netted the first goal for the Matildas, but Nigerian forward Uchenna Kanu quickly responded, equalizing the score.
The game’s second half witnessed an additional 11 minutes of stoppage time, during which the Matildas’ Alanna Kennedy scored a goal with a header. However, despite their efforts, it wasn’t enough to level the scores at the final whistle.
Following the match, van Egmond acknowledged that it simply wasn’t the Matildas’ night, expressing disappointment at their inability to convert the numerous chances they had.
Nevertheless, she emphasized the team’s “never say die attitude,” highlighting their unity and collective spirit.
With one victory and one defeat in the group stage, the Matildas’ fate in the tournament hinges on their final group match against Canada, the Olympic women’s football champions.
The crucial game is scheduled at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on Monday night, and the Matildas will be looking to secure a win to progress to the knockout rounds.
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