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Elise Kellond-Knight successful injury return as Matildas beat Thailand, result, scores, video highlights

Elise Kellond-Knight has made a stirring return to the Matildas line-up after a torturous run with knee injuries in a 2-0 win over Thailand.

The 32-year-old, who has not played since the Tokyo Olympics qualifiers in March 2020, was brought on by Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson in the final 10 minutes and emerged unscathed.

Kellond-Knight’s return came after a torrid two-and-a-half years on the sidelines after she tore her ACL while playing in Sweden in July 2020. She was selected in the Matildas’ squad for Tokyo but did not play a single minute after suffering from knee pain, which led to more surgery and an extended rehabilitation process.

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Kellond-Knight admitted after her successful return that she thought her career might’ve been ended by her knee troubles.

“It’s been a long journey but it’s been worth it to be back out there with the girls,” she said.

“It was only 10 minutes, but it’s a big milestone and we’re all going to celebrate that together.

“It was a complicated injury. There were times where I thought I’d never play football again, so to pull on the green and gold now is a massive achievement.”

The veteran was named in the 2011 and 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup team of the tournaments and admits she’s eyeing a spot in Gustavsson’s squad for next year’s home World Cup.

“I’m open-minded to everything. I’m taking it one day at a time and that would definitely be nice,” she said of a potential World Cup berth.

Gustavsson was clearly moved when discussing Kellond Knight’s comeback after the match.

”I’m so happy for (Kellond-Knight) and the team is so happy for her also,” he said.

“What a journey. What she’s been going through could’ve been a career-ending crossroad moment for her, and now she’s back with the national team playing minutes.

“I get emotional just talking about it.”

Kellond-Knight’s return capped what was a successful outing for the Matildas, who finished the calendar year with four straight victories.

Kerr puts Matildas ahead

Australia was dominant throughout the contest, and missed several golden opportunities in the first half, before Sam Kerr nodded in the opener from a corner kick.

Haley Raso added the second barely a minute into the second half.

Kerr admitted that she and her teammates needed to be more clinical.

”It’s nice to finish on a high for sure, four wins in a row after a tough year. We’re feeling good, but ready to go for next year,” she said.

“We need to get better at this part (finishing in front of goal), so it’s a good challenge. We need to be better, but these are the challenges we want.”

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