The Super Falcons of Nigeria held on for a goalless draw against Canada in their first group game of the 2023 Women’s World Cup, WWC.
Goalkeeper, Chiamaka Nnadozie, played a key role to ensure the draw after she saved a second-half penalty against a dominant Canadian side at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Australia, in the early hours of Friday.
Coach of the Falcons, Randy Waldrum, chose a balance of experience and youth in defence, with Osinachi Ohale and Blessing Demehin paired at center back ahead of the ever-present Onome Ebi.
With Oshoala leading the attack for the Falcons, Canada dominated for the first 20 minutes. The attacking partnership of Christain Sinclair, Andrea Leon, and Jordyn Huitema proved difficult for the Nigerian side to handle.
Although the Canadian team were the dominant side in the early stages of the match, Nigeria had their first shot on target when Onumonu cut in from the flank and aimed for the far corner with a curler, but Kailan Sheridan pawed it away from her goal for a corner kick.
The best chance of the match came in the second half for Canada. Francesca Ordega tackled Sinclair inside the penalty area, and a video assistant referee, VAR, adjudged the play as penalty.
Sinclair took the resultant penalty kick but Nnadozie dived low to the right to save the spot kick.
The Nigerian team held their own to earn a draw but the draw was threatened when Abiodun who had enjoyed a good outing was shown a red card. The Falcons will play against Australia on Thursday in the group game, with a fair chance to progress from the group.
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