Australia thump Uzbekistan 10-0 to seal Olympic berth

By REUTERS
February 29, 2024
Australian player Michelle Heyman (Centre #2) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the women’s football qualifying match for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games between Australia and Uzbekistan in Melbourne on February 28, 2024. — AFP

MELBOURNE: Michelle Heyman scored four first-half goals as Australia demolished Uzbekistan 10-0 on Wednesday to book their place in the women’s soccer tournament at the Paris Olympics.

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Having won the first leg of the Olympic qualifier 3-0 on a freezing day in Tashkent, Australia were ruthless on a stifling night at Melbourne’s Docklands stadium where Heyman’s haul thrilled a sell-out crowd of 54,120.

“It was very special,” said Matildas captain Steph Catley. “Everything we sort of set out to do we’ve done so it’s a proud moment for us to get to another Olympics.” With Sam Kerr and Kyah Simon sidelined with injury, Heyman has made the most of her first international matches in six years, scoring in both legs against the world number 47 Uzbeks.

At Docklands, the 35-year-old forward had a hat-trick after 16 minutes and slotted her fourth in stoppage time before the break. Subbed off in the second half, Heyman was unable to add to her tally but may have already convinced coach Tony Gustavsson to include her in his squad for Paris.

Defender Kaitlyn Torpey also got on the scoresheet in the 22nd minute, along with Mary Fowler (36th) and Caitlin Foord (38th) as the Matildas stormed to an 8-0 lead at halftime.

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