The 27-year-old bagged her first after pouncing on Clare Polkinghorne letting the ball run away from her under no pressure, while her last-gasp victor came when a floated free-kick - won in an attempt to run down the clock - sailed past gawping defenders and keeper Lydia Williams.
Formiga controlled midfield in her opening appearance at a record seventh World Cup, in which she became at 41 years and 98 days the oldest woman to play in the competition.
"We need to quickly regroup and focus on the Brazil game".
Kerr has scored 32 times at the worldwide level, already tied for fourth all-time in Australian history, and the 25-year-old figures to smash Lisa De Vanna's record of 47 by the time she's through.
"In the end I still think we could have done things a little bit better when we did have the ball".
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"We're not going to pack it in after one defeat. So we will stare it straight in the eyes and we will go for it".
Bonansea had a goal disallowed for offside in the eighth minute following a Video Assistant Review.
Having won the spot-kick, Kerr stepped up to take it and though having her initial effort saved to the left of goal, she was able to calmly slot home the rebound to give the Matildas the lead.
Barbara Bonansea of Juventus scored both of Italy's goals in the second half, with her second coming just seconds before the final whistle.
Then came Polkinghorne's 56th-minute blunder, which allowed Italy to equalise.
Substitute Daniela Sabatino put the ball in the net but again, but she was caught by the offside flag.