Shipard stars in Matilda's Cup win

THE Riverina soccer community was celebrating last night after Wagga star Sally Shipard was part of the Matildas' historic victory in the Asian Cup final in China.Shipard grew up in Wagga and developed her soccer talents with Wagga United before breaking into the Matildas team in 2004.Now 22, Shipard took a short sabbatical from soccer last year but has returned to the sport and made a stunning impact.The former Wagga High School student capped her soccer comeback when the Matildas triumphed in the Asian Cup final at Chengdu on Sunday night.Playing in the cup final against DPR Korea in horrid conditions, Shipard struck a critical role as the Matildas became the first Australian team to capture an Asian Cup title.Shipard's goal came in a tense penalty shoot-out after the game was level one-all at the end of the regulation 90 minutes and extra-time.Korea scored first in the shoot-out to take control, but Shipard stepped up to level moments later.With a superb strike the Wagga star levelled the game and kept the Matildas' chances alive.Korea handed the Matildas an opportunity to secure the title when Yun Song Mi missed to the right, but Kyah Simon had the honour of scoring the winning penalty.For Shipard, the Asian Cup final is only the start of a fabulous soccer fairytale.She will also play for the Matildas at the World Cup next year after the Australian team earned its place earlier this month.

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