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Australia women qualify for 2020 Tokyo Olympics after 2-1 win over Vietnam in play-off second leg

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Australia have booked a place in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after a 2-1 win over Vietnam in the second leg of their AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifiers play-off at the Cam Pha Stadium in Vietnam on Wednesday.

The ASEAN side, who were playing for nothing but pride after a 5-0 thrashing by Australia in the first leg at the McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle last week, ran into trouble as hosts even before the start of the return leg when the floodlights at the stadium failed delaying the kick off.

Further trouble ensued when the power failed again one minute into the kick off.  After another lengthy delay, the match resumed and the visiting Australians wasted no time in going about their business.

Sam Kerr, who had scored a brace in the first leg, was once again Vietnam’s tormenter as the Chelsea striker turned in a cross in the 15th minute to become the second-highest goalscorer for Australia at the international stage.

Kerr was behind Matildas’ second too as she broke free of the Vietnamese defence and teed up the ball for Hayley Raso for an easy finish to double their lead in the second leg.

The visitors were awarded a penalty in the 35th minute when Nguyen Thi Tuyet Dung brought down Caitlin Foord inside the box only for Vietnam goalkeeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh to deny Chloe Logarzo from the spot and keep the score at 2-0 going into the break.

Vietnam reduced the deficit 10 minutes into the second half when their skipper Huynh Nhu capitalised on a defensive error from Clare Polkinghorne and latched onto a loose back pass before lifting the ball over goalkeeper Lydia Williams into the goal.

And that was how the game ended as Australia recorded a 7-1 aggregate win to join hosts Japan at the Olympics. China PR and Korea Republic will face each other in the other play-off fixture to decide the remaining slot from Asia in the women’s football tournament.

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Asia

Cambodia suspend all football tournaments across country to combat COVID-19

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Cambodia has become the latest country in Southeast Asia to suspend all footballing activities including the 2020 Cambodian League season due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Several countries from ASEAN including Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines have suspended their domestic leagues in order to slow down the spread of the coronavirus while countries like Singapore and Myanmar had decided to play behind closed doors.

Cambodia were the only country to have their domestic league running in full steam in the midst of the global pandemic, but they have now decided to suspend all tournaments until further notice.

“The Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC) inform the public that in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the FFC have decided to postpone the 14th Hun Sen Cup, Metfone Cambodian League 2020 and the U-16 National Championship, U-18 National Championship and the delay of the 2020 General Assembly of the Football Federation of Cambodia until further notice,” the FFC said.

The 2020 season of the Cambodian League has already completed five rounds of matches with Phnom Penh Crown FC leading the table with 13 points. Defending champions Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng FC also have the same number of points, but are second on goal difference.

The Hun Sen Cup, meanwhile, is the country’s domestic cup competition that is split into two stages. The provincial stage featuring clubs from the lower division was held in February, but the national stage during which the top division clubs were to join the competition now stands suspended.

(Photo credit: Visakha FC)

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Former Myanmar national team captain Yan Aung Kyaw to retire at the end of 2020 season

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Yangon United and Myanmar veteran midfielder Yan Aung Kyaw has announced that he will retire from professional football the end of the 2020 season. 

A former captain of the Myanmar national team, Aung Kyaw made his debut for the Asian Lions in 2011 and has won over 60 international caps for the Southeast Asian nation during his career.

He also won a bronze medal for Myanmar at the 2011 Southeast Asian Games while also winning five domestic league titles and three General Aung San Shields with Yangon, the club he has represented since its formation in 2009 along with the Myanmar National League (MNL).

“I previously spoke about my future and mentioned that I will not play for another MNL club against my team Yangon United and another reason is my age. Although I could play one or two more years, I don’t want to play for another club after my contract with Yangon ends in December,” he told Myanmar Times.

Aung Kyaw also hinted that he will move into coaching after retirement and that Yangon United has offered him the opportunity to work at the club.

“I want to thank to my team president and all the team’s staff including my teammates. They supported me very well and the team has been very good to me. Of course the fans have also always been supportive,” Aung Kyaw added.

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Stephanie Catley scores winner as Melbourne City edge Sydney FC 1-0 in W-League Grand Final

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Melbourne City FC edged Sydney 1-0 in the 2019-20 W-League Grand Final at the AAMI Park in Melbourne to claim their fourth domestic championship title in five years. 

Wing-back Stephanie Catley scored the only goal of the game in the 15th minute through the hands of goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe to defeat last season’s winners Sydney in the Grand Final which was held without the involvement of spectators to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Melbourne City had qualified for the Finals series by finishing top of the 2019-20 W-League regular season with 34 points from 12 matches while Sydney FC had finished third with 22 points.

Melbourne Victory had finished second in the regular season with 23 points while Western Sydney Wanderers took the fourth and final slot in the knockout stages by collecting 22 points.

In the semifinals that were also played behind closed doors, Sydney had edged Victory 1-0 to qualify for the Grand Final while Melbourne City had thrashed Western Sydney Wanderers 5-1.

Melbourne City had won the W-League Grand Finals in three consecutive season starting 2015-16 before Sydney emerged victorious last season by defeating Perth Glory 4-2.

(Photo credit: Melbourne City FC)

Read more: A-League, the show goes on but complaints about quarantine

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