Nnadozie Saves Penalty As Nigeria Holds Canada To Goalless Draw In Women’s World Cup


Nigeria’s Super Falcons celebrate after goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie saves a penalty kick from Canada’s Christine Sinclair in the Women’s World Cup Group B match. Photograph: Morgan Hancock/EPA

LAGOS JULY 22D (NEWSRANGERS)-Every time Nigeria forward Asisat Oshoala touched the ball against Canada, or was just in its vicinity, a deafening roar echoed around the stadium, the decibels only rising as the match went on. Charging through the middle of the Canadian defence, with Francisca Ordega flying down the wing on her left, the power of Oshoala’s aura could be felt from the furthest corners of the stands.

Opposite them in red was one of the best women’s footballers the world has seen – Canada’s captain Christine Sinclair comes with her own aura – but the veteran’s saved second-half penalty was reflective of her team’s efforts throughout. No matter the star power on the field in Melbourne, goals win matches, and neither team was able to break through in this second Group B match.

The Super Falcons will only take one point from the match but you wouldn’t know it from the scenes when the final whistle blew. Nigerian players fell to the ground in relief, goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, the hero of the hour, pumped her fists from the goal she protected so brilliantly.

Bursts of Canadian dominance bookended the game, as the veteran Sinclair looked threatening in the first 15 minutes and Quinn provided a calming presence in midfield. But it wasn’t long before Nigeria’s energy picked up, cheered on by raucous fans in the crowd. The pumping atmosphere created by 21,410 people on a clear winter afternoon was somewhat unexpected for a lunchtime kick-off in mid-week. Smatterings of red and white piped up when Jordyn Huitema made trouble on the edge of the box, but really the volume was brought by Nigeria.

Despite some menacing attacks from Oshoala and Ordega, there was just one shot on target in the first half. And when Canada’s goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan clean missed a clearance not long before half-time it was clear the Olympic champions had been unsettled by the aggressive Nigerian counterattacks. Sheridan’s clearances from set pieces were unconvincing at best. In contrast, at the other end of the field Nnadozie was in a class of her own with a player-of-the-match performance to keep a clean sheet.

In the opening minutes of the second half Sinclair powered into the penalty area, drawing out Ordega who made contact and sent the Canadian leaping into the air. The referee was not interested in Sinclair’s shouts but quickly paused play and confirmed she needed to review the VAR decision. A penalty was given and boos rang out as Sinclair tucked the ball under her arm and approached the spot.

It should have been a done deal, but Nnadozie’s diving save to her left defied the veteran another history-making goal, and she quickly bounced back up to swat the ball clear of harm’s way. The save further fired up the Super Falcons, who continued to pounce on a seemingly frazzled Canadian defence.

A change was needed for Canada and Evelyne Viens provided that after coming on for Adriana Leon in the 64th minute. Viens, at her first World Cup, offered fresh legs and aggression up front and injected some much needed energy. Her impact was felt immediately with a chance from close range that ended safely in Nnadozie’s sticky gloves.

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Sinclair and Jayde Riviere were substituted off six minutes later, from which point Canada again took charge leaving Nigeria scrambling at times, including catching them dangerously off guard in the 97th minute. With only a couple of minutes left to play a yellow card for a nasty late tackle by Deborah Abiodun on Ashley Lawrence just outside the area is upgraded to red after a VAR review. Then Viens picks up a yellow at the other end in the final minute.

The frantic ending was an appropriate finish to the contest: creativity and excitement from Randy Waldrum’s Super Falcons compared to an unexpectedly subdued display from Canada who managed to come away with a draw. Nigeria next face Australia in Brisbane, while Canada will take on the Republic of Ireland in Perth. The goalless draw between these two team suggest Group B remains wide open leading into the second games.


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Posted by on Jul 22 2023. Filed under National, Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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