Lowe key in defeat of Vietnam

Wanderer Rachel Lowe scored in Australia's 5-2 thumping of Vietnam at the AFC U19 Women’s Championship Semi Final at Jiangsu Training Base Stadium on Sunday.

First-half goals from Remy Siemsen, Rachel Lowe and Chidiac had Australia coasting at half-time, but already-eliminated Vietnam won back some pride with a bright second-half showing, with saw them find the net for the first time in the tournament.

The Young Matildas knew it was possible that even a win wouldn’t guarantee their progression to the semi-finals, with a Korea Republic victory over Japan potentially fatal for their campaign.

But Australia started well, and, for the third successive match, they took the lead through Siemsen, this time courtesy of an assist from Emily Condon, who waited patiently before teeing up the young poacher from close range in the seventh minute. 

Vietnam had a great chance to equalise moments later, but Tuyet Ngan was denied by Georgia Boric - playing her first match of the tournament – who prevented the Southeast Asians from finding the net for the first time in China 2017.

Australia doubled their lead in the 13th minute, as Lowe became the first Australian player other than Siemsen to score in the tournament, latching onto Princess Ibini’s sublime cross to poke the ball home at the second attempt after her initial effort had been saved.

Chidiac made it 3-0 at the half-hour mark, stroking the ball home from just inside the penalty area to give Australia a comfortable lead, which they took to half-time.

After the break, Vietnam finally broke through for their first goal at the AFC U19 Championship since 2011 after a goalkeeping error from Boric allowed Tran Thi Hai Linh to score.

The Australians restored their lead through Chidiac after she combined with Siemsen in the 68th minute, before the Adelaide United star completed her hat-trick just three minutes later, with Siemsen again playing the role of provider.

Vietnam had conceded 18 goals in three matches in Nanjing, but they ended their tournament on a high note, when Ha Thi Nhai pulled another goal back to make it 5-2 with eight minutes remaining.

With the decisive match between Japan and Korea Republic ongoing, Australia had held up their end of the bargain, and when news filtered through of Japan’s 2-0 win their progression to a semi-final against the unbeaten DPR Korea was confirmed.

That match will be Australia’s first in the knockout stage since a meeting with Japan 11 years ago, as Gary van Egmond’s side attempt to return to the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup after a lengthy absence.

This article was originally published at: www.the-afc.com/u-19-womens-championship-2017/afc-u-19-womens-championship-2017-australia-x-x-vietnam