Resurgent Brazil hold Australia in friendly thriller

Brazil’s women’s national team brought a six-game losing run against Australia to an end in a thrilling 2-2 draw at Western Sydney Stadium on Tuesday.

Goals from Clare Polkinghorne and Sam Kerr had Australia seemingly on the verge of a second victory in four days against the South Americans, but the visitors came storming back into the contest with both Erika and Debinha finding the net in the space of seven second half minutes.

The match continued Australia’s preparation for AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022, which will kick off in less than three months on January 20.

Buoyed by Saturday’s 3-1 win at the same venue, Australia began brightly and could have taken the lead on two occasions through Arsenal forward Caitlin Foord, who missed an early sitter before being denied by Brazilian goalkeeper Leticia a few moments later.

The Matildas momentum bore fruit, however, when Clare Polkinghorne volleyed home following the subsequent corner kick, meaning the central defender had opened the scoring for the second successive game.

But the Brazilians then controlled much of the rest of the half, giving Australia almost constant defensive headaches, albeit without finding the back of the net with any of their 14 first half shots on goal.

Despite Brazil’s resurgence, Australia doubled their lead with a superb team goal in the 53rd minute, with Kerr finding the bottom corner of Leticia’s net on the turn after a brilliant move involving Mary Fowler and Ellie Carpenter.

The visitors were finally rewarded for their efforts when Erika made no mistake after she was allowed a free header at a 64th-minute corner kick, before Debinha bravely equalised shortly after, putting her body on the line to bundle the ball home after a spill from Australian goalkeeper Lydia Williams.

The comeback denied Australia their first back-to-back wins under head coach Tony Gustavsson, but Brazil were good value for the result, outshooting Australia 22 to 12 over a gripping 90 minutes.

Australia will discover their AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 group stage opponents on Thursday, with the official draw to be held in Kuala Lumpur.

Photos: AFP

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