Matildas stars escape exhibition match unscathed; Nestory Irankunda wants Socceroos call-up


Irankunda played 20 minutes from the bench in the All Stars' game against a young and inexperienced Newcastle side with Socceroos coach Graham Arnold looking on from the stands.

Irankunda notched an assist and a strike down the right wing. Arnold will pick his squad this week for the World Cup qualifiers against Bangladesh and Palestine.

“I think I showed the people in the party what I can do and I hope Arnie saw that. If not, I can't say much,” said Irankunda, who was born to Burundian parents in a refugee camp. from Tanzania

Arsenal beat A-League Women in a friendly

A host of Matildas stars featured in the second leg of the double header as Arsenal beat A-League All Stars Women 1-0.

Australian Gunners stars Caitlin Foord, Steph Catley and Kyra Cooney-Cross finished the game unscathed despite worrying signs of a stretcher for Cooney-Cross late in the second half.

The 22-year-old midfielder was treated by trainers on the pitch who stretched her leg, which involved severe cramps or a dead leg.

Arsenal's Kyra Cooney-Cross is chased down by A-League All Stars Women's Michelle Heyman.Credit: Getty

Team-mate Steph Catley joked the timing was simply for Cooney-Cross to be “dramatic” after the game and assured she herself will be fit for next week's Matildas camp after the game is over with his thigh tightly bound after feeling a tightness in his groin.

While it also showcased Arsenal to a new audience Down Under, Gunners manager Jonas Eidevall said the trip to Melbourne has helped Arsenal's players and staff better understand what Cailtin goes through Foord, Steph Catley and Kyra Cooney-Cross with the constant travel around the world.

“You think you know jet lag because you've traveled to the US a few times, but it's a whole different ball game traveling to Australia,” he said.

“And not only for me, but also for his colleagues [understand the jet lag better].”

Caitlin Foord of Arsenal and Cortnee Vine of the A-League All Stars vie for the ball during the exhibition match.

Caitlin Foord of Arsenal and Cortnee Vine of the A-League All Stars vie for the ball during the exhibition match.Credit: Getty Images

Matildas stars travel back and forth between Australia, England and other countries in international windows for national camps and tournaments.

The match also featured an emotional farewell from Matildas veteran Lydia Williams, who announced her retirement from professional football earlier this month. The goalkeeper was substituted only at half-time and received a standing ovation from the crowd.

After 103 matches, five World Cups and six Asians, the 35-year-old player will say goodbye to the national team after her third Olympic Games this year in Paris. While she said the fan effervescence was “really nice”, she was also picked for the first A-Leagues All Stars Women's Team.

with AAP

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