AUSTRALIA won their semi-final last night in the AFF U16 Women's Championships against the host nation Myanmar, to go through to the final against Thailand on Sunday.
Australia started with immediate impact scoring in the first minute. Caitlin Foord putting a cross from the left in behind the defence. Sam Kerr ran on to meet it and after a strong challenge with the keeper Kerr's touch fell to Caitlin Friend who finished into an open net.
The Myanmar keeper needed to be replaced after the incident which strengthened the resolve of the Myanmar team. They pressed the Australians and were awarded a free-kick in the left hand corner in the 10th minute. The ensuing shot was on target, with Brianna Davey unable to keep it out.
At one a piece, the game was competitive for the next 20 minutes with limited opportunities for both sides.
In the 32nd minute, midfielder Nicola Bolger had to be replaced with a knee injury which required a re-shuffle of the team. Teigen Allen came on at right back, Rebekah Stott moved to the centre of defence with Emily Van Egmond pushing up into midfield.
In the 40th minute, Van Egmond took advantage of a free-kick in the middle third and played a diagonal ball behind the defence on the right hand side. Kerr was there to finish well first time to put Australia back in to the lead.
Australia then dominated the last 5 minutes with continued pressure applied to the Myanmar defence.
In the 43rd minute Alanna Kennedy jumped well to head home a corner from the right hand side.
Australia had a number of corners to finish the half, but couldn't capitalise, going in 3-1 at half-time.
Australia were able to create more goal scoring opportunities in the second half with some improved passing and build up play. Tara Andrews scored her first goal of the tournament in the 58th minute with a tap in after a Foord shot hit the post.
Substitute Brittany Whitfield made the most of her time with a goal in the 78th minute after a great pass from Alanna Kennedy.
Australia continued to keep a high tempo to the game despite Myanmar's attempt to slow the game down. In the 79th minute, Makrillos came on to replace Friend in midfield, with Foord slotting in to the centre forward position, Andrews pushing across to right wing and Whitfield switching to the left wing.
Two minutes later, Van Egmond's diagonal ball found Andrews on the right wing in some space. After dribbling past two defenders Andrews was brought down in the box. A penalty was awarded with Van Egmond stepping up to score from the spot.
Head Coach Robbie Hooker was pleased with his side's performance:
"I am happy with the result - there were some good individual performances but the team performance lacked consistency."
"It was disappointing to concede a goal from a set play but it was good experience for the girls to play under these conditions against a home crowd and now to have the opportunity to play in a final leading into the AFC tournament," finished Hooker.
Australia's next game is the final to be played against Thailand on Sunday 18th October at 6.00pm local time at the Youth Training Centre, Yangon.