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Matildas star Foord hurt in 1-1 draw with China

3 minute read

The Matildas have drawn 1-1 with China in the women's football international friendly in Adelaide.

CAITLIN FOORD.
CAITLIN FOORD. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Matildas linchpin Caitlin Foord has suffered a hamstring injury in a 1-1 draw against China in Friday night's women's football friendly.

The Arsenal-based star lasted just 15 minutes of play after being brought on as a substitute before exiting Adelaide Oval.

"I'm a bit concerned," Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson said. "It's easy to say after something like that happens - should I really have used her today or should I have let her rest?

"We don't know how serious it is but she said she felt something.

"And if that would have been a World Cup game or Olympic game I think she would have tried to play on but at this point there's no way that we would risk that."

Australia striker Michelle Heyman scored in the last minute after Gustavsson fielded an experimental line-up for the opening hour.

Heyman tapped-in from a goalmouth scramble after a ferocious Mary Fowler free kick was fumbled by China's goalkeeper.

The 95th-minute equaliser rescued the Matildas who had earlier been upstaged by the reigning Asian Cup champions, with China's Zhang Lynyan scoring in the 30th minute.

But after Gustavsson brought on a batch of Matildas mainstays for the final 35 minutes, the Australians gained traction.

Pre-match, Gustavsson said he remained undecided on four spots for the 18-women squad to contest the Paris Olympics starting in late July.

And he sought solutions by not starting big guns Foord, Steph Catley, Ellie Carpenter, Hayley Raso and Clare Polkinghorne.

After a tepid opening 29 minutes, China, coached by former Matildas manager Ante Milicic, struck on the half-hour.

The visitors launched a fast break along the right flank which left Australia's Kaitlyn Torpey one-out with Wurigumula.

As the pair jostled, Torpey fell to ground - replays showed a slight tug on her jersey from her opponent - and Wurigumula was quick to recover from the contact.

Her cross into the box deflected into the path of Zhang, who scored with a reflex right footer.

After halftime, Australia showed far greater attacking intent and, 61 minutes in, Gustavsson made five substitutions.

Among them were Foord, Catley, Raso and Carpenter and the injection of the Matildas mainstays had instant impact, with the Australians crafting a series of scoring chances.

With one minute left, the influential Fowler launched a powerful free kick from the side of the area which China's 'keeper Xu Huan fumbled.

South Australian Heyman duly scored, delighting the 52,912-strong crowd.

The Matildas meet China again in Sydney on Monday night and Gustavsson will announce his Olympic squad the following day.

Australia's Olympic campaign begins on July 26 (AEST) with a clash against Germany ahead of other group games against Zambia and four-time Olympic gold medallists the United States.

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