Matildas get record win the hard way
AUSTRALIA have snatched an incredible last-second 4-3 win over Norway in their opening game of the Algarve Cup, giving them a record eighth straight wins in internationals.
Their run looked to be over after Norway had cut down a 3-1 halftime win with two goals in the second half and a defence that began to frustrate the Matildas as they tried to find a winner.
But it was great work by Larissa Crummer, who'd come on for Lisa de Vanna in the 75th minute, in a last ditch play that handed them the one-goal win.
The Aussies had a corner in the 95th minute that found Crummer in the centre of the box. Elise Kellond-Knight assisted the ball through as it found the bottom left corner.
The Australians had set themselves up well in the first half, overcoming testing conditions of wind, rain and cold to put three past Norway and head into the break in full control.
Rain had poured down in the opening 20 minutes of the match and winds were up around the 40kph mark, but their hard work in the first stanza was undone within 15 minutes of the second half.
The first error came in the 52nd minute when keeper Mackenzie Arnold failed to tip a corner over the bar. The ball dropped right in front of Lisa-Marie Utland on the goal line and she easily tipped it in.
Then not 10 minutes later defender Ellie Carpenter was penalised for a push in the back on Guro Reiten in the box and Elise Thorsnes made no mistake on the penalty for the equaliser.
It was an arm wrestle from then.
Australia tried to up the intensity and frustration started to show on striker Sam Kerr as a couple of breaks came to nought and some hard marking on her went unchecked.
Kerr thought she'd found the winner with just minutes remaining in the game after Katrina Gorry put a shot through. Kerr looked to have got a touch to the ball to push it through but the off-side flag went up and she was denied.
Another shot after breaking clear in injury time sailed over the bar.
As the final seconds began to tick down it looked like Kerr's goal in the 31st minute would end up being the last time Australia would score.
The coolly slotted shot off a Lisa De Vanna pass made it another record for the match as Kerr took the Australian record for scoring in consecutive matches. It was the eighth straight time Kerr had scored for the Matildas, going past the previous record of seven, by Sarah Walsh.
Kerr's goal finished off a strong opening stanza for the Matildas.
Norway had opened the scoring in the 11th minute when Thornes scored her first. Clare Polkinghorne didn't let the lead last for long though, equalising just 40 seconds later when she headed a corner through heavy traffic.
Chloe Logarzo put Australia in front in the 24th minute after a clearing kick from Norway was skied and keeper Ingrid Hjelmseth couldn't control it, the ball dropping at Logarzo's feet who slotted it in easily.
Australia plays hosts Portugal next on Saturday morning. Portugal defeated China PR 2-1 in their first match.