Merciless Australia hammer Uzbekistan 10-0 to make Paris Olympics

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Veteran Michelle Heyman scored four first-half goals as Australia crushed Uzbekistan 10-0 Wednesday to emphatically seal their place at the Paris Olympics.

1 month ago
Tony Gustavsson's Matildas took a commanding 3-0 advantage into the home leg of their Asian playoff game after achieving their primary goal of keeping a clean sheet in Tashkent on Saturday. The conditions in Melbourne could not have been more different, with the teams swapping snow flurries and a spartan crowd for 35 degrees Celsius and 54,120 screaming fans at a sold-out Docklands Stadium.
Australia were again without injured star striker Sam Kerr, who is racing against the clock to be fit for the Olympics. But they did not need her in an incredible first half that reaped eight goals against a team overawed by the occasion. "It was very special. It's the last step of what has been a pretty long process," said Australia skipper Steph Catley.
"I think throughout the entire qualification process we have played really good football, challenged ourselves. Everything we set out to do we did and it's a proud moment to get to another Olympics. We'll definitely be dreaming big (in Paris)." Australia finished fourth at the Tokyo Olympics, losing to the United States in the bronze-medal match.
On Wednesday they grabbed the lead after barely 40 seconds, defender Dilrabo Asadova turning Kaitlyn Torpey's cross into her own net before Heyman's heroics. The 35-year-old Canberra United striker has been in electric form in the women's A-league and with Kerr out was recalled after six years, starting as a substitute in Tashkent.

She repaid Gustavsson's faith with her first goal since the 2016 Rio Olympics, and continued her fairytale with an 11-minute hat-trick in Melbourne. The first was a simple tap-in, the second a well-guided header from a Catley cross and the third another tap-in after Manchester City's Mary Fowler drilled a low ball in from the left.
Matters got even worse for Uzbekistan when San Diego Wave defender Torpey smashed home her first international goal to put the Matildas 5-0 up after just 22 minutes. Fowler and Arsenal's Caitlin Foord added to the tally before Heyman bagged her fourth with a close-range header to cap a remarkable 45 minutes during which the Matildas could easily have reached double figures.
Heyman was among four changes for the second half which started badly for the Uzbeks, with goalkeeper Maftuna Jonimqulova stretchered off in tears in the opening minute after a heavy challenge. But it was a much tighter ship from the visitors who held on for 22 minutes before conceding the ninth, with pacey Real Madrid winger Hayley Raso finishing smartly before Amy Sayer got the 10th in the dying seconds.

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