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Matildas manage draw with World Champions

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The Women’s Asian Cup got off to a thrilling start on Wednesday night as defending champions, Australia, fought out a 2-2 draw with world champions, Japan at Thon Nhat Stadium.

Australia started phenomenally well and stunned the world champions by quickly building up a lead, only for Japan to come back late on and pick up the point.

The Matildas nearly hit the lead in just the second minute as Lisa De Vanna found space and hit a curling strike that beat the keeper but came back off the post, allowing Japan to clear.

It didn’t take long for the De Vanna, Katrina Gorry partnership to link up and moments later Gorry could have had the opener as she was able to be set up from De Vanna in the box but was denied as Japan’s defense cut out the ball.

There was a scare for Japan in the 19th minute after goalkeeper Erina Yamane went down with injury after a collision with Michelle Heyman, which lead to a lengthy stoppage and a much needed break for both teams.

In the 23rd minute Australia hit the lead as Caitlin Foord sped through the Japan defense and hit a powerful shot that bounced off the inside of the post and in to the back of the net to make it 1-0.

The Australian defense was pushed heavily by the Japanese after the goal as they pushed hard for an equalizer, trying to show why they are World Champions.

In the 39th minute Aya Miyawa had a solid chance for Japan as she had a shot from the edge of the ara that went just wide.

Heading in to half time Lydia Williams made an impressive save from close range as Yuki Ogimi was able to get to the ball in a seemingly simple position but was denied by a Williams save to keep it 1-0 at the break.

Japan started the second half well as they were able to get down the field and have a solid chance that came back off of the crossbar, allowing Australians to clear.

Japan broke the offside trap fairly early in the half as the Japanese striker managed to make the run through the Australian defense, forcing Williams in to a great save.

After a solid start from Japan, Australia doubled their advantage as Heyman was able to hold the ball up form Emily van Egmond as she had an effort that was blocked, falling for De Vanna who was able to slam home the second goal.

Japan responded from that downer and just seven minutes later they were able to cut the gap as Clare Polkinghorne attempted to clear the low cross away, but it skewed off her boot and ended up in the back of the net, to let Japan back in to the match.

With six minutes to play Japan stole a point as Ogimi was able to get home and jump on to a cross, allowing her to head home the equalizer.

Very late on Australia had an opportunity to make it a 3-2 win but they were denied as Elise Kellond-Knight played Tameka Butt through but her run was slightly too soon keeping the match at 2-2.

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