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Matildas beat NZ 2-0 in soccer in Ballarat

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 4/06/2016 Emma Kemp

The Rio-bound Matildas have continued their Olympics warm-up with a 2-0 win over New Zealand in Victoria.

Caitlin Foord scored a brace to ensure world No.5 Australia maintained their 23-year winning streak over the Football Ferns in Saturday afternoon's friendly at Ballarat's Morshead Park.

Sixteenth-ranked New Zealand, who have also qualified for Rio, will have another chance to get one back on their trans-Tasman rivals on Tuesday, when the sides meet again at Melbourne's Etihad Stadium in a double-header with the Socceroos.

Undefeated in their past six internationals, the Matildas are in contention for a first Olympic football medal.

With a near-full set of overseas-based players at his disposal, coach Alen Stajcic opted for some fresh faces, deploying Mackenzie Arnold in goal and handing 16-year-old starlet Ellie Carpenter half-an-hour off the bench.

But it was Foord's experience and lethal pace that ultimately proved the difference against a testing Kiwi outfit boasting 895 caps' experience.

The messy contest had barely started when the Perth Glory forward put the hosts ahead with a long-range drive that flew through a bunch of bodies and brushed Chloe Logarzo before ramming into the net.

Impatient to add to the tally in her seventh international, Logarzo took matters into her own hands, smashing a 20-metre sizzler that would have hit the target had Ferns goalkeeper Erin Nayler not leapt brilliantly to save it.

Having started in slightly disjointed fashion, New Zealand found their rhythm, playing out from the back and then directly to Amber Hearn, but the striker struggled to hold up the ball under pressure from Matildas defender Alanna Kennedy.

They were less assured defensively and nearly conceded a second goal before halftime when Michelle Heyman, struggling with a cold, hit the crossbar in a hectic goalmouth scramble.

It was Heyman's backheel after the break that set Foord off to beat her Kiwi defender and slot home her seventh goal for Australia.

As the game picked up again, the Ferns beat Australia at their own game, pressing high and attacking down the flanks, but their midfield grew too tired to spring a comeback.

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