Lyon's stunning goal saw Canada beat Australia in a women's soccer friendly

Lyon’s stunning goal saw Canada beat Australia in a women’s soccer friendly

BRISBANE, Australia – Less than a year into the Women’s World Cup, Olympic champion Canada held off tournament-best hosts Australia in a 1-0 victory on Saturday.

The Canadiens survived a depleted backline with goalkeeper Kellan Sheridan coming up big on multiple occasions. And Canada’s offense, which had been muted in the past, came up with attacking options as the game wore on.

Australia had plenty of chances in the first half but went into the break 1-0 down. Canada pressed on in a wide-open second half with both sides threatening.

“Overall (I’m) really, really happy,” Canadian coach Beau Priestman said of the performance. “Honestly, that’s the stuff I love about this team. When you’re faced with this level of adversity, they step up and do whatever it takes to win…I really like football. “Enjoyed that we played. It was dynamic.”

Adriana Lyon’s 11th-minute rocket proved the difference in a thrilling contest in front of a crowd of 25,016 at Suncorp Stadium.

The game started with a Jesse Fleming free kick from the left touchline. The ball was cleared by an Australian defender but only as far as Bianca St Georges who sent it to Jordyn Huytma. The OL Raine striker set up the ball for Lyon, who fired a right-footed shot from the edge of the penalty box past the outstretched hands of diving goalkeeper Lydia Williams for her 25th goal for Canada.

“Her quality always shines through,” Priestman said. He scores goals.

The seventh-placed Canadians face the 12th-placed Matildas in a rematch at the newly-built Allianz Stadium in Sydney on Tuesday.

Both venues will host next year’s World Cup, which kicks off next July in 10 stadiums across nine host cities in Australia and New Zealand. Canada will learn their way into the 32-nation tournament during the draw in Auckland in October.

Australia coach Tony Gustavson will be hoping that his team will make the most of their chances on Tuesday.

“It’s a little unbelievable to finish it 1-0 to Canada, to be honest,” he said.

“Just one of those days,” he added. Next game, we score three goals.

The Matildas pressed for a late equalizer and Sheridan pressed on to preserve the victory by heading in an Australian corner from Sam Kerr.

Kerr, the Matildas’ star striker, had several scoring opportunities but could not beat Sheridan.

Both teams lost players.

With Kedisha Buchanan, Elisha Chapman, Vanessa Giles, Jade Revere and Dean Rose injured and Ashley Lawrence unavailable for personal reasons, the Canadiens lost all of their starting backs.

Beau Priestman’s starting XI featured just four starters from the 2021 Olympic final in Tokyo: captain Christian Sinclair, Fleming, Janine Beckie and Nicole Prince.

Veteran Shelina Zadorski anchored the backline, earning 83 caps alongside her centre-back Sora Yaka. Becky moved back to full back with St George’s on the other side.

The 24-year-old St. Georges, who plays for the NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars, impressed in just her fifth senior appearance.

Fleming and Julia Grosso were positioned in midfield ahead of the back four, with Lyon, Sinclair and Prince playing behind Huytma.

Sinclair, the world’s leading goalscorer with 190, earned her 316th cap for Canada to move into a tie with American Carli Lloyd for second on the world all-time list. Former US international Christian Lilly leads the way with 354 appearances in a 24-year career.

Clarissa Larisi and 18-year-old Sammy Ojo came on in the 75th minute for their senior Canadian caps.

Kerr, who plays alongside Fleming at Chelsea in England, was the Australian captain who was also missing players.

The Matildas were beaten 1-0 by Sweden in the Olympic semifinals and finished fourth after losing 1-0 to the United States in the bronze medal game in Tokyo. Canada won the gold, edging Sweden 3-2 in a penalty shootout after the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

Saturday’s game was Canada’s first since July when it qualified for the World Cup by finishing second to the senior Americans at the CONCACAF W Championship in Mexico.

Canada improved to 7-2-3 in 2022, losing 1-0 to No. 8 Spain at the Arnold Clark Cup in February and 1-0 to the United States at the CONCACAF W Championship.

The Australian women’s team went 5-3-1 in 2022. They last played in June when the underdogs drew 1-1 with No. 27 Portugal and were thumped 7-0 by Spain.

While Australia holds a 7-6-3 all-time advantage against Canada in the two-game series, the Canadians have lost just two of the last nine meetings (5-2-2) and are 2-0 when which teams were last. met — in their first match at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Australia won 2-1 the last time the two met in Sydney in May 2008 against the underdogs.

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