Arsenal defeat A-League Women 1-0 after men thrash Newcastle United in All Stars double-header

Arsenal defeat A-League Women 1-0 after men thrash Newcastle United in All Stars double-header
  • PublishedMay 25, 2024

The first ever A-Leagues All Stars double-header has ended with mixed fortunes as the women’s side were beaten 1-0 by English giants Arsenal, while the men’s team stormed to an 8-0 win over an inexperienced Newcastle United in Melbourne.

The night kicked off with the men’s match, where several A-League Men players putting their hands up for Socceroos contention as head coach Graham Arnold watched from the stands.

Wellington Phoenix winger Ben Old opened the scoring in the fifth minute, with the impressive Nicolas Milanovic from Western Sydney Wanderers adding a second 20 minutes later.

Socceroos striker Adam Taggart netted in the 34th minute, while Newcastle Jets forward Apostolos Stamatelopoulos, who is eyeing a maiden national team call-up, scored twice in the 62nd and 74th minute.

Jake Hollman, Jordan Courtney-Perkins, and Bozhidar Kraev all added to the scoresheet late to round out the thrashing.

Two soccer players, one wearing black and one wearing green and white, during a game
Socceroos attacker Mathew Leckie impressed against a young Newcastle United side.(Getty Images: Quinn Rooney)

Bayern Munich-bound Nestory Irankunda, who was arguably the headline act in the pre-match media this week, was surprisingly limited to a 20-minute cameo off the bench, but was electric as soon as he came on, setting up a number of goals as he ran at a young, tired defence.

Newcastle United’s senior players largely departed Australia after Wednesday night’s friendly against Tottenham, while Kisnorbo fielded a much more experienced and match-fit team.

An hour after full-time, the women’s All Star match kicked off in front of 42,000 screaming fans.

All three of Arsenal’s Matildas – Steph Catley, Kyra Cooney-Cross, and Caitlin Foord – started the match, lining up against several of their Australian team-mates including Cortnee Vine, Michelle Heyman, Tameka Yallop, and retiring goalkeeper Lydia Williams, who received a standing ovation at half-time when she was substituted for youngster Jada Whyman.

Arsenal were the dominant side from the opening minutes, but struggled to unlock a stubborn All Stars defence anchored by New Zealand international Rebekah Stott and Melbourne Victory captain Kayla Morrison.

Foord was a particularly dangerous threat down the left wing, but it was Arsenal young gun Vivianne Lia whose deadly, direct cross finally found the head of Alessia Russo in the 39th minute to put the Gunners ahead.

Steph Catley was substituted at half-time, while Kyra Cooney-Cross went down with cramp in the second half before coming off, though the Matildas midfielder was jovial on the ground, smiling on the big screen and laughing with the physiotherapists.

Vine offered the All Stars side their most effective attacking outlet down the right, but met her match in Republic of Ireland captain Katie McCabe, who did not shy away from physical challenges to cut down the speedy Matildas winger.

The All Stars struggled to create any convincing chances, and largely relied on Arsenal errors to catch a glimpse of goal.

They could have equalised in the 88th minute after Sydney FC midfielder Mackenzie Hawkesby slid a ball in behind for Kiwi Hannah Wilkinson to charge onto, but her shot was brilliantly saved by young Arsenal goalkeeper Naomi Williams.

Several of the players have been called up to the Matildas for two friendlies against China on May 31 and June 3.


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