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Matildas star in doubt for China clash

Steph Catley grimaces after being trampled on in Australia's clash against China in Melbourne.
Steph Catley grimaces after being trampled on in Australia's clash against China in Melbourne. JOE CASTRO

FOOTBALL: Matildas star Steph Catley is unlikely to play against China in Geelong on Sunday after being trodden on in Wednesday night's 3-0 win in Melbourne.

The Melbourne City left back carried a calf injury into the match and was inadvertently trampled by Chinese striker Tang Jiali in a nasty incident late in the first half. She didn't return after the break.

The durable 23-year-old has played nearly 50 games in the past 12 months and has only missed one game at club or international level in that time.

In good news for Catley's W-League side, coach Alen Stajcic said she was only substituted as a precaution, although he cast doubt on her availability for the weekend.

"She had a slight little calf niggle from a kick that she got on Saturday and was 50-50 (to play) before the game," Stajcic said.

"And then she happened to get trodden on on that exact same spot as is usually the case.

"She'll be fine, it's just a minor injury, we just took that precaution.

"But I think she'll be doubtful for Geelong to be honest, I don't think she'll be right for that."

In a night that was highlighted by another brilliant brace by Sam Kerr, China coach Sigurdur Eyjolfsson described the star striker's goals as "out of this world".

 

Australia's Sam Kerr dives for a header during the opening match of the two-match series against China.
Australia's Sam Kerr dives for a header during the opening match of the two-match series against China. JOE CASTRO

"She's definitely one of the best players in the world at the moment," Eyjolfsson said.

Kerr's second goal, in the second half, was world class, as she lashed in a wicked right-foot shot from well outside the penalty box.

"You know it's going in, but the goalkeeper is about six foot tall so you're just hoping she doesn't get there," Kerr said.

But the first goal, a first-half header from an Emily Van Egmond corner, was a thing of art, as she rose above two defenders deep inside the area.

"It was a great ball by Emily, it's something we practise, I knew it was coming at the back post," Kerr said.

"I just kind of tussled with (the defender) and just knew if I could get my head on it anywhere in that six-yard box it would go in."

Topics:  matildas melbourne city sam kerr soccer

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