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Larnaca: Former AFC Women’s Player of the Year Kate Gill opened the scoring as Australia defeated Finland 3-0 on Monday to end their 2015 Cyprus Cup Group B campaign second in the four-team table behind England.

Gill, the continent’s top female footballer in 2010, put the Matildas one up on the half-hour mark before second-half goals from Ashleigh Sykes (77th) and Emily van Egmond (89th) as Australia recorded their second win of the competition following their 1-0 victory over the Netherlands in their tournament opener.

“We probably created ten or 12 chances and probably should have scored more than three so our finishing and converting is something we need to keep working on, but overall it was much improved compared to the other day,” head coach Alen Stajcic said.

“We knew Finland play a similar way to how England play, so we went back to the training ground after the loss to England and worked on the things we spoke about and needed to get right, so to see us learn from that and take it into this game was pleasing.”

Also pleasing for Stajcic was to see the cohesiveness in the squad as he continues to tinker and experiment, fielding a different starting line up to the ones that took the field in the opening two matches of the tournament.

“It’s a part of our culture that everyone knows each other’s roles and it’s great to see players without many caps coming in and doing well,” Stajcic said.

“There are definitely good signs in the team and it shows how much depth we’ve got.”

Determined to take the game up to Finland from the outset, Caitlin Foord had an effort cleared off the line in the 9th minute before Kyah Simon unleashed a shot that sailed just over the crossbar.

The Matildas’ sustained pressure eventually saw the deadlock broken in the 28th minute when a fine build up from Simon and Foord created an opening for Gill who made no mistake slotting the ball past the Finland keeper to take her impressive scoring tally to 41 goals from 85 international matches.

Elise Kellond-Knight was enjoying her starting role at left back as she caused Finland all kinds of headaches when she pushed forward but the Matildas could not add to their dominance on the scoreboard going into half time.

Gill went close to scoring her second as her header skimmed the outside of the post just after the hour mark in what would be her last action of the night as she was replaced by fellow striker Michelle Heyman.

But it was another substitute that would make an immediate impact as Sykes struck with her first touch within a minute of coming on as she slotted the ball home from a Lisa De Vanna assist.

Well in control of the contest, De Vanna then won the  Matildas a penalty in the final minute of regulation time which van Egmond, who wore the captain’s armband for the match, duly converted to cap off a dominant victory.

Meanwhile Korea Republic, Asia’s other representatives in the 12-team invitational tournament, went down to their third successive defeat at the 2015 Cyprus Cup on Monday as a last-minute goal saw the East Asians go down 2-1 to Scotland in Monday’s earlier match at the GSZ Stadium.

Following Group C defeats to Italy (2-1) and 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup hosts Canada (1-0) the Koreans were looking to end their Group A campaign on a positive note.

Kim Little, who was top scorer and MVP in the 2014 National Women’s Soccer League with Seattle Reign, gave Scotland a 16th minute lead from the penalty spot with her second in as many games only for Yeo Min-ji to draw Korea Republic level with ten minutes of the first half left to play.

Yeo’s equaliser looked to have been enough to see her side end their run of Cyprus Cup defeats but in the final minute Scotland skipper Little fed the ball to Hayley Lauder, whose cross was slotted home by Christie Murray.

The Koreans round off their tournament when they face Belgium on Wednesday at the Paralimni Stadium while Australia take on the Czech Republic in a later match at the same venue.

AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2014 runners-up Australia and Korea Republic, third-place finishers in last year’s continental competition in Vietnam, are using the 12-team Cyprus Cup competition as part of their preparations for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The Matidas are in Group D at Canada 2015 where they have been drawn alongside USA, Sweden and Nigeria while the South Koreans are in Group E where they have been pooled with Brazil, Spain and Costa Rica.

Photo: AFP

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