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Matildas fall in Asian Cup Final

Japan celebrate their Women's Asian Cup title
Japan celebrate their Women's Asian Cup title
Photo by Stanley Chou/Getty Images

Australia have fallen just short of defending their Women’s Asian Cup title as they fell to a 1-0 loss to the World Champions in the final at Thing Nhat Stadium on Sunday.

The Matildas started the match well putting the pressure on Japan and within one minute had their first chance of the match.

Lisa De Vanna played a through ball which played Sam Kerr clean through, stunning the Japanese defense only for Kerr to put the ball over the bar.

Australia can continued their attack and Kerr had another chance in the following moments as a Michelle Heymann header found Kerr, who was left open, but sent her shot right at the keeper.

Japan started to work their way back in to the match and in the 28th minute they hit the lead, thanks to a corner as Azusa Iwashimizu got in between defenders and sent her header in to the back of the net.

That goal spurred Japan on and they kept attacking for the remainder of the half, causing the Australians all sorts of problems.

Australia’s physicality was proving a strong asset but they were still unable to break through, with De Vanna setting up Heyman toward the end of the half but the keeper was quick off her line to deny the chance.

Alen Stajcic made a change at the half bringing on Laura Alleway in defense, which allowed Australia to make the switch from defense to attack much faster.

The second half saw Australia start well and in the early stages they could well have managed to get back in front but Kerr’s powerful shot from outside the box went right to the keeper.

In the 53rd minute Heyman had the chance to put Australia back on level terms as she had space and the opportunity to score but her effort was much too easy for the keeper.

Just after that chance Australia had another as Van Egmond sent a ball for Heyman which she got on to the end of but couldn’t find the target.

Australia made changes in the late stages as they looked to attack Japan and it certainly had that effect as the Australians were by far the better side in the closing stages.

Late on Japan could well have gone two up as they saw an effort come back off the post before Australia went down the other end and thought they’d equalized, only for Kerr to be deemed offside.

For all of Australia’s effort, Japan were doing well, controlling out the closing stages as they kept that effort up, showing their skill as world champions.