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  • Writer's pictureBlayne Treadgold

Record Perth crowd treated to Matildas' goal-fest.

Hat-tricks to Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord have steered the Matildas to a massive 8-nil thrashing of the Philippines in their latest match of the AFC 2024 Olympic qualifiers at Perth Stadium. A record 59,155 strong crowd turned out as the Matilda's all but sealed their qualification to the next round of Olympic qualifying. Tony Gustavsson rang the changes opting to start arguably his strongest available squad since the FIFA World Cup. Perth-local Sam Kerr led the line with stars Mary Fowler, Caitlin Foord, Hayley Raso, Kyra Cooney-Cross all returning to the starting line-up. For Phillippines, there was an A-league flavour as Mark Torcaso opted to start Perth Glory's Jessika Cowart and Quinley Quezada in addition to Western Sydney Wanderers' Jaclyn Sawicki and Australian-born defender. Angie Beard. The changes paid off for Tony Gustavsson early, when Fowler found the net on 16 minutes. Australia then doubled the lead just minutes later when Caitlin Foord beat her defender down the left to find Sam Kerr who opened the scoring when she found the bottom corner. Foord made it three when Kerr turned provider following some quick feet from Fowler. Fowler beat her marker to deliver a well-weighted ball to Kerr who laid off to Foord to record her second of the match. Just minutes later Foord doubled her tally with quick-fire second as Filipina keeper Olivia McDaniel's pass only made it as far as Hayley Raso, Foord losing her marker to complete her brace. Sam Kerr added her own mark just before half-time when she seemingly beat the off-side trap to emphatically finish into the roof of the net passed McDaniel. Australia picked up where they left off immediately after the half-time break when Kerr completed her hat-trick. It was then Caitlin Foord's turn to join the hat-trick club, when a brilliant solo effort down the byline saw her produce a bullet into the roof of the net. With luxury of a seven goal buffer, Gustavsson made a raft of second half changes. Clare Wheeler was rewarded with more game time as she joined Emily Van Egmond, Alex Chidiac and Courtney Vine replacing Kerr, Fowler and midfielders Katrina Gorry and Kyra Cooney-Cross. The recent hard work would again pay off for Wheeler when the Filapina defence stood off allowing her to hit from distance to score her maiden international goal and complete the 8-nil drubbing. A humble Tony Gustavsson said he was pleased with the performance and a momentous occasion for WA football fans. "On a personal level it was a privilege to be a small part of something big like this," he said. With qualification all but sealed, the Matildas now turn their attention to Chinese Taipei on Wednesday night at HBF Park. IMAGE:FILE


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