Sports

Last minute strike seals dramatic Matildas win as Kerr sets new standards

It was simply business as usual for Sam Kerr and the Matildas; the extraordinary now becoming almost routine.

Their opening fixture at the Algarve Cup in Portugal brought an eighth consecutive victory and a record-breaking seventh straight match in which Kerr has netted in national colours.

Australia's women's football team continue to advance their claims to be our best performing side of any code and either gender.

A dramatic 4-3 win over Norway simply the latest piece of evidence.

External Link: Opta tweet on matildas winning run

It didn't come easy, however.

In foul conditions at the Estadio Municipal de Albufeira — driving rain and howling wind welcoming the Australians to a particularly savage European winter — Larissa Crummer headed home deep in to stoppage time to seal the win.

It was a goal that maintains a perfect record stretching all the way back to August 2016 and a 0-0 draw with Brazil at that side's home Olympics, the last time Australia failed to come out on top over 90 minutes.

In that time they have beaten Brazil (twice), Japan and the top ranked USA.

It is a record that puts the Matildas firmly in the conversation when discussing potential winners of the next World Cup, in France next year.

Kerr scored Australia's third of the night, making it 12 goals in the past seven games, a stunning streak of form from one of the sports' true world superstars..

Coach Alen Stajcic was delighted by the resilient showing and winning mentality of a side having to manage a lengthy injury list for the current competition.

"It was tough getting here with all the travel. With a lot of players out too, we've had a lot of things to contend with," he said.

"I'm proud of how we managed to stay in the game … we managed to play our way out and we stayed true to our positive selves."

The Matildas are missing six first-team players in Portugal but with the benefit of a first-half wind, took a 3-1 lead into half-time.

External Link: Sam kerr record v Norway: tweet

They threw away that advantage by the hour mark and after spurning several late chances, it seemed the winning streak was about to end.

That was until Crummer leapt to head Elise Kellond-Knight's clever flick home for a sensational winner with the last effort of the game.

That late intervention ensured the Matildas sit on top of Group A as they look to add the Algarve Cup to their trophy cabinet.

Australia are back in action on Saturday (AEDT) against the hosts, who defeated China 2-1 in their opening match, and then will round out their group fixtures with a match against China on Tuesday.

The structure of the 12 team tournament means Australia will only qualify for a one-off final by winning their group comfortably.

Through Kerr, Crummer and the dogged form of a team happily used to winning, they have made the perfect start.

ABC/AAP

Original Article

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