The Matildas will be looking for their second win in the Cup of Nations tonight.
The Matildas will be looking for their second win in the Cup of Nations tonight.

'Like Cahill': Kerr stars as Matildas turn on style

Captain Sam Kerr led by example, bagging a brace as the Matildas continued their impressive start to life under new coach Ante Milicic with a 4-1 Cup of Nations win over South Korea at Suncorp Stadium.

Having beaten New Zealand 2-0 on the opening night of the tournament in Sydney last Thursday, the Matildas made it successive wins under Milicic on Sunday with an encouraging display against a solid Korean outfit.

Sunday night's victory moved the Australians three points clear at the top of the ladder heading into the final night of the tournament in Melbourne on Wednesday.

With one hand already on the trophy, the Matildas are expected to account for competition minnows Argentina at AAMI Park and gather further momentum ahead of the June-July Women's World Cup in France.

The Koreans had been expected to give Australia a tougher test last night, but after an even start, the tournament hosts stepped up a gear to comfortably dispose of their Asian rivals thanks to Kerr's double and goals from Lisa De Vanna and substitute Emily Gielnik.

Kerr came off in the 63rd minute with her side leading 3-1, and Milicic could not have been happier with her contribution.

"She's a leader by her actions and she's growing into her role," Milicic said.

"She, probably a world stage, doesn't get the recognition she deserves but tonight she was very active, scored her goals well, looked dangerous, she leads the line well … she reminds me of Tim Cahill.

Sam Kerr got on the scoresheet after drawing a blank against the Kiwis
Sam Kerr got on the scoresheet after drawing a blank against the Kiwis

"She's got such strong belief, mentally strong, she's fearless … I was very pleased with her tonight."

Milicic made six changes to the side that started in Australia's win over New Zealand.

Coming in were goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold, defenders Gema Simon and Laura Alleway, midfielder Aivi Luik, and attacking pair Lisa De Vanna and Hayley Raso.

Out went Lydia Williams, Steph Catley, Alanna Kennedy, Elise Kellond-Knight, Caitlin Foord and Gielnik.

And the depth in the Matildas' squad was evident, much to the delight of the 10,520-strong Brisbane crowd.

Kerr had a great chance to open the scoring in just the second minute after running on to a perfectly weighted Emily van Egmond through ball.

But she directed her shot straight at South Korea goalkeeper Kim Jung-mi.

Sam Kerr held her nerve to give the Matildas the lead.
Sam Kerr held her nerve to give the Matildas the lead.

However, Kerr made amends three minutes later when she gave her side the lead from the penalty spot after being fouled by defender Jeong Yeong-a.

Australia's lead was short-lived, with the Koreans back on level terms in the 12th minute via a sublime free-kick from Ji So-yun.

The Matildas regained the ascendancy in the 37th minute through De Vanna.

The veteran attacker tapped home from close range after goalkeeper Kim parried a Tameka Butt shot into her path.

Hayley Raso played a big part in the Matildas victory.
Hayley Raso played a big part in the Matildas victory.

Kerr then took advantage of a loose pass from Jang Sel-gi in first-half stoppage time to score her second of the night and increase Australia's lead to 3-1 at the break.

Substitute Gielnik provided the icing on the cake with a stunning 81st-minute strike that rounded out the scoring.

In Sunday's early game, New Zealand beat Argentina 2-0 thanks to second-half goals from Katie Rood and CJ Bott.

Tameka Butt wins the midfield battle.
Tameka Butt wins the midfield battle.
News Corp Australia


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