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Women's Asian Cup

Matildas ride their luck to overcome Thailand and qualify for Asian Cup final

2:59 AM GMT+4 18/04/2018
Alana Kennedy Matildas
The green-and-gold weren't at their best but got the job done in the end

Mackenzie Arnold saved three Thailand penalties in a nerve-jangling 3-1 shootout success as the Matildas advanced to the AFC Women’s Asian Cup final after a dramatic 2-2 draw in normal time.

Australia had been on the brink of a shock exit before Alanna Kennedy buried an equalising header in the 91st minute of a rollercoaster semi-final.

Thailand then survived extra-time despite Wilaiporn Boothduang’s earlier red card, but Arnold came to the fore in the resulting shootout as the favourites averted what would have been a big upset.

Arnold had endured a difficult evening up until the spot-kicks, having played an unfortunate part in the two Thailand goals that overturned the Matildas’ 17th-minute lead, which came courtesy of an own goal.

Alen Stajcic’s side refused to be beaten, though, and will now contest a third successive Asian Cup final against either Japan or China PR.

The decider will be held at Amman International Stadium at 3:00am AEST on Saturday morning.