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Matildas advance to Algarve Cup playoff

Soccer

The Matildas will meet Denmark to decide third place at soccer's Algarve Cup in Portugal, after goals by Emily Gielnik and Ellie Carpenter fired them to a win over China and a top finish in their group.

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Australia came from behind to defeat China 2-1 this morning, Australian time, to end the pool stage with two wins and a loss in the invitational tournament.

Their cause was helped when group C rivals the Netherlands bagged a surprise 1-0 win over Sweden.

The Matildas on Thursday morning will meet world No.15 Denmark, who smashed Russia 6-1 to finish second behind Canada in their group.

The Canadians will meet Spain in the final, with the top-two teams from across the three groups advancing directly to the decider.

A goal from super-sub Gielnik and then the winner from 16-year-old Carpenter lifted the world No.6 Matildas past China, who had led 1-0 at the break.

In a tough test for the Australians, China sat back and played counter-attacking football while Australia pressed hard but found goals difficult to come by.

China’s patience was rewarded when Wang Shanshan was played in at the 36-minute mark to give China the lead against the run of play.

Gielnik was introduced in the 59th minute by coach Alen Stajcic and got her equaliser two minutes later, smashing home Emily van Egmond’s cross to level the scores at 1-1.

It was Gielnik’s third goal of the tournament after a brace in the 3-2 win over the Netherlands.

It was then Carpenter’s turn, the teenager bagging her first Matildas’ goal as she headed home a Van Egmond corner to make it 2-1 with six minutes remaining.

Earlier in the tournament, Australia lost their opening match to Sweden 1-0 before beating the Netherlands 3-2.

-AAP

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