Soccer-Australia thump Uzbekistan 10-0 to seal Olympic berth


  • Football
  • Wednesday, 28 Feb 2024

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 - Round of 16 - Australia v Denmark - Stadium Australia, Sydney, Australia - August 7, 2023 Australia's Steph Catley reacts REUTERS/Carl Recine/File Photo

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Michelle Heyman scored four first-half goals as Australia demolished Uzbekistan 10-0 on Wednesday to book their place in the women's soccer tournament at the Paris Olympics.

Having won the first leg of the Olympic qualifier 3-0 on a freezing day in Tashkent, Australia were ruthless on a stifling night at Melbourne's Docklands stadium where Heyman's haul thrilled a sell-out crowd of 54,120.

"It was very special," said Matildas captain Steph Catley.

"Everything we sort of set out to do we've done so it's a proud moment for us to get to another Olympics."

With Sam Kerr and Kyah Simon sidelined with injury, Heyman has made the most of her first international matches in six years, scoring in both legs against the world number 47 Uzbeks.

At Docklands, the 35-year-old forward had a hat-trick after 16 minutes and slotted her fourth in stoppage time before the break.

Subbed off in the second half, Heyman was unable to add to her tally but may have already convinced coach Tony Gustavsson to include her in his squad for Paris.

Defender Kaitlyn Torpey also got on the scoresheet in the 22nd minute, along with Mary Fowler (36th) and Caitlin Foord (38th) as the Matildas stormed to an 8-0 lead at halftime.

A dreary night for Uzbekistan soccer grew gloomier still as goalkeeper Maftuna Jonimqulova was injured in a goalmouth clash and was carried off the pitch on a stretcher soon after the restart.

Australia's scoring dried up in the second half after Gustavsson rejigged his lineup but substitute Amy Sayer completed the rout in stoppage time after Hayley Raso's 68th-minute strike.

Women's World Cup semi-finalists Australia, who qualified for their third successive Olympics, will bid for a maiden medal at Paris three years after making the semi-finals at Tokyo.

Japan beat North Korea 2-1 in the other qualifier to book their ticket to Paris, after the two sides drew 0-0 in their first leg.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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