Matildas beat NZ in penalty shootout

June 16, 2013
By David Barbeler

The Matildas have beaten New Zealand on penalties in an international friendly to claim the Centenary Cup, the match finishing without a period of extra time to fit in with ABC television scheduling.

The sides were locked at 1-1 at the end of the regulation 90 minutes but, instead of playing an extra time period, the players went straight into a penalty shootout, which the Australians won 4-2.

Capital Football chief executive Heather Reid later confirmed that the match was played that way to fit in with the ABC television coverage, both sides agreeing - before the actual fixture - to the conditions should the scores be level at fulltime.

The ABC, who were screening the match live, had advised they could only allocate the match a timeslot up to 4pm (AEST).

Young Australian goalkeeper Brianna Davey was the hero of the game, brilliantly saving two well-placed spot kicks to deliver her side a dramatic win.

Davey, who was also superb in the Matildas' behind-closed-doors match won 1-0 by the home side on Thursday, desperately lunged to save the first two shots from New Zealand's Amber Hearn and Katie Hoyle to ensure the Centenary Cup victory in front of 2248 spectators at McKellar Park on Sunday.

"It's always good to do your bit for the team. I picked the right way, luckily," the 18-year-old said.

"There was a bit of pressure. Before any game, I get nervous but hopping in for a penalty shootout is always very nerve wracking.

"I suppose the pressure is also on the striker, though."

The international friendly win stretches the Matildas' unbeaten record over the Football Ferns to 23 years.

The Matildas went close to scoring right on fulltime with a messy scramble resembling a rugby ruck on the New Zealand goal line after a corner from Servet Uzunlar.

The home side had opened the scoring in the 11th minute, Polkinghorne glancing in a header off a corner from Uzunlar to score just her third international goal.

Playing catch up, New Zealand turned their aggression up a notch, Ria Percival and Katie Hoyle both receiving yellow cards for dangerous challenges.

Impressive Ferns striker Sarah Gregorius then backed up Thursday night's stellar performance with a cracking 38th-minute strike to level the scores 1-1.

New Matildas coach Hesterine de Reus said Davey's past two performances had earned her the No.1 goalkeeping jersey ahead of usual starter Lydia Williams, who is playing in Sweden and will join the squad for their European tour next week.

"I think (Williams) was the first goalkeeper but, for now, she isn't. She has to earn her position. She has to fight for it," de Reus said.