RECAP: Canada hammer Australia for 5-0 win at Starlight Stadium

The Canadian women’s national team beat Australia 5-0 at Starlight Stadium on Friday night, building on a strong first half to see out a dominant victory.

The hosts wasted no time, taking the lead less than ten minutes into the match. After Clare Polkinghorne received the ball in her own penalty area, Nichelle Prince pounced on the Australian defender, took a few strides toward Teagan Micah’s net. Micah never came off her line to challenge Prince, who took her time and placed the ball into the bottom right corner to put Canada up 1-0.

Prince came close to doubling Canada’s lead ten minutes later, volleying the ball across goal and beating Micah, but missing just wide of the far post. Canada had most of the momentum in the opening half, adjusting better to the wet and narrow pitch at Starlight Stadium. Les Rouges kept knocking at the door, outshooting Australia 13-0 in the opening 45 minutes.

With one of those final attacks of the opening half, Prince found her second goal of the match to double Canada’s advantage. Ashley Lawrence received a pass on the right flank and charged forward, before cutting a low cross into the penalty area. Prince met the ball, firing into the bottom right corner, beating Micah again.

It was the first time Canada have scored multiple goals in the opening half of a match in over a year, since a 2-1 win over Brazil on Nov. 11, 2022.

It didn’t take long after halftime for Canada to score a third. Cloé Lacasse replicated Prince’s opening goal, stripping the ball from an Australian player — this time Sarah Hunter — before curling a shot into the bottom right corner of the net.

A few minutes later the onslaught continued. After getting up the pitch from centre-back, Jade Rose played a cross into the penalty area. It was initially headed away, but Simi Awujo collected it and fired a curling shot into the bottom right corner for her first international goal at the senior level.

The fourth goal matched the score that the Matildas beat Canada by in the final match of the Women’s World Cup group stage. Bev Priestman made sure to note before this international window that Canada were not approaching this as a “revenge game”, but they certainly played like it was.

Adriana Leon made it five for Canada with one of her final actions of the match before being replaced by debutant Latifah Abdu. After a cross into the box from Jordyn Huitema was punched into the air by Micah, Sydney Collins headed the ball back across, but this time the Australian goalkeeper couldn’t get a touch on it.

Leon was in the right place at the right time as the ball dropped within a couple of yards of the net, heading the ball over the line for an easy tap-in goal.

Also being substituted into the match with Abdu after Leon’s goal was Christine Sinclair, for the 330th and penultimate time in her legendary national team career. These matches are being seen as a farewell tour for arguably the greatest international footballer of all time, and Sinclair understandably entered to a standing ovation from the sold out crowd in Langford.

Les Rouges hung on for the final half-hour of the match, taking a dominant 5-0 win in the first of two matches against Australia this week. It was their biggest win, and the first time they scored 5+ goals in a match, since a 6-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago in July 2022 at the Concacaf W Championship.

Canada and Australia will meet again on Tuesday night, at BC Place in Vancouver, which will be renamed Christine Sinclair Place for one night only. That will be the final match of her legendary international career, as well as the international career of longtime midfielder Sophie Schmidt. Former national team goalkeeper Erin McLeod is also being honoured after officially retiring from international duty back in January.

That will also be the team’s last match of the year as they continue to build toward the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games. For tickets to that match, click here.