06.03.2020 10:48 h

Chelsea's Kerr puts Australia on verge of Tokyo Olympics

Chelsea striker Sam Kerr scored twice as Australia moved within a game of booking their ticket to the Tokyo Olympics after thrashing Vietnam 5-0 in the first leg of their playoff on Friday.

The home captain got the ball rolling with a driving header on 10 minutes after a pinpoint cross from Ellie Carpenter, and then converted a penalty in the second half.

History was always on the Matildas' side, with Australia winning all seven previous matches against the Vietnamese, scoring 37 goals and conceding none.

And with Europe-based stars Kerr, Caitlin Foord, Emily Gielnik and Chloe Logarzo all making the trip back to play, Vietnam faced an ominous task.

"I thought we controlled the game, we were not as sharp as we would have liked to be at some points, but 5-0 and a good performance from a lot of the girls," said Kerr.

After Kerr's opener, Logarzo poked in a second from close range before they spurned a flurry of chances. Emily van Egmond finally nodded home a third from a Steph Catley cross for a 3-0 half-time lead.

Vietnam showed in their qualifying campaign that they have firepower up front and speed on the flanks, and they created chances but were not able to convert.

Defender Clare Polkinghorne got Australia's fourth from close range before Hayley Raso was brought down in the box and Kerr stepped up to complete the rout in front of more than 14,000 fans in Newcastle, north of Sydney.

The return leg is in Vietnam on March 11.