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The Matildas' match against Sweden in their second group match at the Tokyo Olympics has been marred by a first half controversy which saw Sam Kerr denied what many considered a clear penalty.
Australia were facing an early deficit after Sweden opened the scoring in the 20th minute - but it didn't take long for Kerr to make her mark on the game.
'WHAT A JOKE': Uproar at 'atrocious' moment in Aussie Olympics upset
The captain took just over 15 minutes to level the scores, nailing a 36th minute header to square the ledger.
Controversy erupted five minutes later however, when Kerr appeared to have been clipped on the ankle whilst in the box.
The referee was unmoved by the Australian team's protests and, perhaps more incredibly, VAR backed up the no-call.
Kerrr's protests fell on deaf ears and the Matildas went into half-time with the scores tied at 1-1.
It took no time at all for them to break the deadlock in the second half, with Kerr heading home a pinpoint cross from Caitlin Foord.
The lead was short lived however, with Sweden retaking the lead thanks to two quick strikes.
Aussie fans through, remained perplexed by the referee's response to what should have been a regulation penalty kick.
Many took to social media to register their amazement.
Kerr penalty shout, tells the ref to look at it, ref ignores her pic.twitter.com/Ujh266z9Mx
— Hedonist (@The_Hedonist_6) July 24, 2021
How was that not a penalty to Sam Kerr? #SWEAUS VAR proving useless once again
— Feim Mehmet (@feimjunior) July 24, 2021
— Benjamin. D🔟S Immortale. (@casertacampania) July 24, 2021
What is the point of VAR?! Sam Kerr was clearly clipped and the Matildas should have been awarded a penalty!
(also, why put ads during a football game smh - @Channel7) #Olympics #OlympicGames #SamKerr #Matildas
— Dino Bernardo (@dinob7) July 24, 2021
— Robert Smith (@OnyaDon) July 24, 2021
— Matt Zarb (@mattoman71) July 24, 2021
Kerr was later given the opportunity to level the game at 3-3 from the penalty spot after Foord was fouled in the box later in the second half.
But her spot kick was easily stopped by Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl.
Tough prep set up Matildas' NZ win: Kerr
Kerr says the Matildas' 2-1 win over New Zealand at the Tokyo Olympics vindicated their gruelling, winless preparation.
New coach Tony Gustavsson kicked off his tenure with five tough friendlies against Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Japan when the Matildas conceded 14 goals, lost four of five games and won none.
But a dominant showing at Tokyo Stadium on Wednesday night, bar a stunning goalkeeping performance from New Zealand's Erin Nayler and the Kiwis' injury-time consolation goal, kicked off Australia's Olympics campaign with their first victory under Gustavsson.
Central to that was Kerr, who assisted Tameka Yallop's opener and snapped a five-game drought when scoring a goal herself in a stellar captain's performance.
"It's always good to win your first game - I think it gives you a lot of confidence going in to the rest of the tournament," Kerr told the Seven Network.
"Everything was for this moment so we feel as prepared as ever.
"The results before didn't go our way but it was all for this game and look, we've got the three points and we'll move on."
The 2-1 scoreline belied a dominant performance from Australia, who seized control of the clash in a scintillating first half.
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