It's onto the AFF U18 Women's Championship semi-finals for the CommBank Junior Matildas, who extended their undefeated streak to three last night when they defeated Myanmar, 2-1.
After already securing their spot in the semis with the two dominant performances against the Philippines (4-0) and Malaysia (8-0), the third victory against Myanmar was the icing on the cake for the Australians who have finished at the top of Group B and will take on the runners up from Group A on Thursday at 11 pm AEST for a spot in the final.
"We're delighted to grind out a 2-1 victory over Myanmar in driving rain and heavy conditions and to finish off Group B on top with 3 wins from 3," Head Coach Rae Dower said post-match.
Goals were scored by Daisy Brown in the third minute and Ella O'Grady in the 65th.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Dower said the team still saw much room for improvement which they look forward to fine-tuning before finals football.
"We struggled to get our passing game going and made it difficult for ourselves at times, trying to push passes when they weren't on. We fell foul of the offside flag too many times to count and there are so many learning moments to take from the game which we will go through with the team in a thorough review tomorrow," she said.
"Tournament football isn't always the prettiest of football and the girls showed a fighting spirit and winning mentality when facing their first real challenge as a team. Again, we were able to create many goal-scoring opportunities, yet our conversion rate was a little down on the last two games.
"We've rotated players and spread the game time around so it's hard sometimes to find that chemistry with the line-up changing from match to match."
READ: Junior Matildas into AFF U18 Women’s Championship 2022 semi-finals
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Being the first team of the tournament to be able to score a goal against the CommBank Junior Matildas, Dower praised opponents, Myanmar along with the quality of football from other ASEAN nations.
"To their credit, Myanmar were a well drilled team and their goal was scored from a wonderfully struck free kick. They have shown why they deserve to be in the semi-finals and the rise in the ASEAN nations shows that the investment in women's youth football is paying off for these countries," she said.
"The gap is definitely closing between the tiers of nations and they will give a very good account of themselves in the other semi-final."
The team has three days before the semis with Dower saying the break is just what they need to come out firing, with full intention of winning the championship.
"Tomorrow will be a complete day off for the players with no training which will help freshen them up. We know that we have a lot more improvement in us and we're not just satisfied with making the semis, we want to win."
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