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Matildas draw 1-1 with NZ

NZN 7/06/2016 By John Salvado

Australian coach Alen Stajcic says the Matildas have copped a timely pre-Olympics reality check after being held to a 1-1 draw by New Zealand in the women's soccer international at Etihad Stadium.

Skipper Lisa De Vanna scored a timely equaliser for the home side in the 73rd minute, just eight minutes after Katie Bowen had put the Football Ferns ahead with a brilliant strike at the other end.

Eight years ago, Bowen made New Zealand history when she won her first full international cap as a 14-year-old.

The Matildas are ranked fifth in the world and had claimed a 2-0 victory over 16th-ranked New Zealand in the first match of the two-game series three days ago in Ballarat.

"We've had a good run now, six or seven matches in a row where we've played at a really high level and today was just that little bit lower," Stajcic said on Tuesday evening.

"It's a good reality check for the group to know that if we drop our levels and drop the expectations, then anyone can compete in the top 20 of women's football now and even probably beyond that.

"In some respects, we were probably a touch fortunate not to cop another goal or two.

"We certainly rode our luck a couple of times."

After a mostly tame first half between two sides preparing for the Rio Olympics, the match came alive after the interval.

New Zealand went close to breaking the deadlock in the 55th minute, when Abby Erceg smashed a header into the crossbar.

The visitors also had a confident appeal for handball turned down shortly afterwards.

Bowen opened the scoring in the 65th minute with her first international goal - a first-time shot from outside the area which left Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams grasping at air.

De Vanna's 39th goal for the Matildas was also an eye-catching one as she curled a left-footed shot inside the left upright.

Stajcic will name his 18-strong squad on July 2 for the Rio Olympics.

Three days later, the Matildas fly out to Brazil for a final pre-Games training camp.

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