Chidiac adds spark as Matildas lift Cup of Nations


Gorry, who started again the heart of midfield, received a layoff from Foord at the edge of Australia’s attacking penalty box and swiped at the ball with the outside of her foot, beautifully curling it over and around Jamaica goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer.

But the Matildas were otherwise dysfunctional, and would have conceded an equaliser were it not for the outstretched leg of Mackenzie Arnold, who denied a close-range attempt from Kayla McKenna in the dying embers of the opening half.

Caitlin Foord celebrates a goal.

Caitlin Foord celebrates a goal.Credit:Getty Images

Gustavsson made two changes at the break, swapping Clare Polkinghorne with Charli Grant and bringing on Chidiac for the ineffectual Larissa Crummer, who was played on the wing in place of Hayley Raso – and they seemed to have the desired effect.

Courtney Nevin moved to centre-back to accommodate Grant’s drive and initiative at right fullback, while Chidiac – a standout for Melbourne Victory in the A-League Women – made another effective cameo, putting her name on the scoresheet after just 10 minutes on the field, if not also in Gustavsson’s prospective 23-player squad for the Women’s World Cup.

Gorry was the provider with a cutback, but Chidiac initiated the move from midfield before ghosting into the box, and still had plenty to do when she received the pass, dodging two Jamaican defenders before slamming home her shot.

There was more to come from the Matildas, as Foord combined brilliantly with skipper Sam Kerr in the 69th minute to extend their lead to three goals.

Kerr and Foord, who appear to be Gustavsson’s preferred forward duo as part of a 4-4-2 system that has underpinned their recent form turnaround, exchanged passes before the latter unleashed from distance, her effort arguably bettering Gorry’s strike from a similar range.

The Matildas lift the Cup of Nations trophy as they continue their preparations for the World Cup.

The Matildas lift the Cup of Nations trophy as they continue their preparations for the World Cup.Credit:Getty Images

The Reggae Girlz mounted a late rally for a consolation goal, but it never came, with Mary Fowler and Tameka Yallop – as well as Newcastle products Emily van Egmond and Clare Wheeler – given a run off the bench by Gustavsson.


They finished the night lifting a trophy – their first during Gustavsson’s reign – although, in truth, the only meaning it holds is in what it represents. As a practice run for the World Cup itself, it’s hard to be unhappy with three wins from three in the Cup of Nations, which would put them top of Group B if they can do it again five months from now.

But much bigger tests loom as the Matildas switch their attention to April’s friendly in London with England, the reigning European champions, who they are likely to face in the round of 16 if they finish second in the group.

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