By Victor Okoye
Goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie’s 50th minute save denied Canada’s Christine Sinclair a place in history in scoreless draw at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The result meant Nigeria and Canada shared the spoils in their tight Group B opener in Melbourne, with the two captains involved in the game’s pivotal moment.
After a goalless opening half, Canada were awarded a penalty shortly after the break.
Their captain, Sinclair, stepped up to the spot but was thwarted by a superb stop low to her left by the Super Falcons skipper Nnadozie.
A tight first half saw Canada shade possession but the best of the chances fell Nigeria’s way.
Ifeoma Onumonu had an effort parried wide by Kailen Sheridan midway through the half.
This was followed by a vital intervention from Vanessa Gilles, which kept Asisat Oshoala’s goal-bound effort out after a missed clearance from Sheridan.
Five minutes after the restart, came the game’s key moment with Canada awarded a penalty as Sinclair was brought down by Francisca Ordega.
But the 40-year-old missed the chance to become the tournament’s oldest scorer as Nnadozie made a fine save low to her left.
NAN also reports that four of the last six penalties awarded at the FIFA Women’s World Cup have been missed, with Sinclair’s effort the latest on that list.
Both nations went in search of a winner, with Nigeria’s Michelle Alozie having a shot well blocked with a quarter of an hour remaining.
Canada substitutes Evelyne Viens and then Cloe Lacasse also had late efforts cleared.
The Super Falcons will be without midfielder Deborah Abiodun for their next match though.
This was after she was shown a red card late in second half stoppage time, as Nigeria saw out their first scoreless draw in 27 Women’s World Cup matches.
The Super Falcons will take on tournament’s co-hosts Australia on July 27 after defeating Republic of Ireland 1-0 on Thursday in their opening fixture.
They will then round off their group stage matches against Republic of Ireland on July 31.
The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup which is being co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, kicked off on July 20 and will end on Aug. 20. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Joseph Edeh