Nigeria 0-0 Canada: Nnadozie the hero has Super Falcons claim crucial point in World Cup opener

Nigeria 0-0 Canada: Nnadozie the hero has Super Falcons claim crucial point in World Cup opener

  • Goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie saved a second-half penalty as ten-woman Nigeria battled to a goalless draw against Canada to begin their 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup on a positive note.

Head coach Randy Waldrum made a couple of crucial decisions in the starting lineup as he benched veteran defender Onome Ebi, handing a start to youngster Tosin Demehin and the captain's armband to Nnadozie.

Coupled with the off-field distractions the team had faced in the build-up to the World Cup, it was understandable that the Super Falcons began the game on the back foot.

Canada enjoyed the early possession but only had Christine Sinclair's off-target shot to show for it.
Nigeria grew into the encounter, and in the 22nd minute, Ify Onumonu drew a fine save from goalkeeper Sheridan off a curled shot that was snaking into the net.

Nigeria won their first corner kick from that play, and several others followed, but the former African champions could not take advantage of the set pieces.

Oshoala then had the sight of goal after a Canadian defensive mix-up, but the Barcelona striker could not get her effort on target from a tight angle.

Canada came out of the dressing room in an inspired mood yet again for the second half and, within the opening few minutes, won a penalty kick.

Christine Sinclair, with a record 190 international goals, stepped up to fire towards Nnadozie's bottom left corner.

The Nigerian goalkeeper guessed rightly to make a fantastic save to keep the scores level.

Nigeria battled back to reckoning in the game, with Benfica's Christy Ucheibe and Deborah Abiodun delivering solid performances in midfield. But Abiodun was shown a straight red card following a dangerous tackle to leave the Super Falcons outnumbered in the closing stages.

But the 11-time African champions held on brilliantly to secure their first goalless draw in World Cup history and claim a point off Canada.

Nigeria will next face co-hosts Australia, who defeated Ireland in their opening fixture.  

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