Mumbai, Jan 21 (IANS) Forward Sam Kerr became the all-time top scorer for Australia in international football as the Matildas launched their campaign in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 in majestic style, thrashing Indonesia 18-0 here on Friday.
Kerr had started the match one-goal behind Tim Cahill as Australia’s all-time top scorer, male or female, in international football but opened up a four-goal gap at the top as the Matildas, runners-up of the 2014 and 2018 editions, made an impressive start at the Mumbai Football Arena here.
The Chelsea star was one of eight Matildas to get their name on the scoresheet in the win, Austr’lia’s biggest-ever in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
Kerr scored five goals in all and missed a penalty too and Emily van Egmond contributed four goals. Hayley Raso, Ellie Carpenter, and Kyah Simon contributed two goals each while Caitlin Foord, Mary Fowler, and Aivi Belinda Luik scored a goal each to make up the impressive scoreline.
Eager to impress in their first major tournament in a generation, Indonesia put up a brave defensive display in the early minutes, but their resistance was broken when Emily van Egmond’s pass found Kerr, who steered home her 50th international goal on nine minutes.
That goal levelled Cahill’s record, and Kerr duly broke it just two minutes later, with another van Egmond pass giving the Australian captain a virtually unmissable sight at goal.
Kerr turned provider, teeing up Caitlin Foord for Australia’s third in the 14th minute before Mary Fowler got in on the act with an accomplished finish three minutes later, and the Matildas were 5-0 up when Raso bravely headed home in the 24th minute.
With Rudy Eka Priyambada’s side powerless to combat Australia’s pace and movement, Kerr completed her hat-trick from the penalty spot shortly before a sensational 15-yard strike from Carpenter extended the lead further.
Eight quickly became nine when Kerr poked home her fourth from a few feet out, with van Egmond once again the provider, before van Egmond herself made it nine at half-time with a thumping penalty kick shortly after.
Coach Tony Gustavsson made five changes at the interval, but little changed on the pitch, as the Matildas continued to score at will.
Van Egmond completed her hat-trick just before the hour mark, while Kerr showed a rare sign of fallibility by sending a penalty kick into the crossbar, before Indonesia carved a rare attacking chance, only for Baiq Amiatun Shalihah to spoon her effort over the crossbar.
Having planted their feet firmly in the ground as a title contender, Australia will continue their Group B campaign against the Philippines on Monday, while Indonesia will hope to improve when they face Thailand.