A second half Sinclair penalty was save by Nnadozie, which secured a goalless game between Nigeria and Canada in the second Group B match of the FIFA Women’s World Cup at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium in Australia.
Reigning Olympic champions Canada justified their FIFA ranking (7) from the whistle, with pure dominance in Nigeria’s half. Multiple attacks were created by Adriana Leon, with Canada’s all time top goal scorer for both men and women, Christine Sinclair, on the receiving touch- however none were able to ripple the net.
The 20th minute saw a shift in dynamic, as the Super Falcons accumulated more distance into Canada’s half, inevitably followed with goal scoring opportunities. Despite the many corners, and a well defended brief open goal, the Maple Leafs did well to keep maintain their clean sheet.
The most significant attempt of the first half came from Nigeria’s star player Asisat Oshoala’s attack in the 35th minute, in which she dragged the keeper away from their net, in order to lay the ball into the box, but the defence cleaned up the attack through an interception.
Randy Waldrum’s side would’ve been pleased to be level at the break.
What can be considered a low intensity game in the first 45 minutes, soon become VAR checked within 5 minutes of game time resuming.
After Ordega misjudges Sinclair’s touch in the box, and a thorough sideline check, a penalty was awarded in the 50th minute. Sinclair stepped up to the spot with the hope of adding to her impressive 190 goals, but a fairly weak bottom right shot was blocked and hit away by Chiamaka Nnadozie- the Super Falcons saviour in that moment.
Canada’s number 10, Lawrence, is booked with 15 minutes on the clock- before this her contribution to Canada’s tackling play, through runs and crosses down the line, were an important factor to keep the likely winners in the game.
An extra-time corner from Canada saw another heroic save, as Nnadozie punched away the Maple leaf’s last hopes of getting on the scoresheet.
With moments left of added time, and tensions heightened, Abiodon doubled her yellow card and was sent off the pitch following a leg breaking tackle, leaving a 10 player squad to keep Canada out.
The referees whistle concluded an unexpected goalless game, one which increases the excitement and unpredictability once again at the World Cup!