Nigeria’s Super Falcons commenced their 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup journey in Australia and New Zealand with a goalless draw against Canada, the Olympic champions.
The standout player of the match, goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, became the hero when she saved a penalty from Christine Sinclair early in the second half during the game held in Brisbane.
However, the Falcons faced a setback when midfielder Deborah Abiodun was shown a red card late in the match for a dangerous foul.
Despite Canada’s early dominance, Nigeria came close to scoring in the 23rd minute, with Ifeoma Onumonu’s well-taken shot saved by goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan. Canada’s Jordyn Huitema also missed a header opportunity shortly thereafter.
Both teams were unable to create dangerous opportunities in the first half.
The second half began on a disappointing note for the Falcons when a penalty was awarded to Canada after Francisca Ordega brought down Christine Sinclair in the box. Nevertheless, Nnadozie’s remarkable save denied Sinclair from converting the penalty.
Canada had another close chance with a clever free-kick from Adriana Leon, but it missed the target.
The match remained tense, and Nnadozie made another important save, stopping a left-foot strike from the Canadians.
The Falcons thought they had found the back of the net through substitute Uchenna Kanu, but her effort was flagged offside after connecting with a cross from Onumonu.
In the dying moments of the match, Tosin Demehin made a crucial block to prevent a goal.
In the 98th minute, Deborah Abiodun received a straight red card following a VAR consultation for a bad tackle on Ashley Lawrence.
The final result indicates that the Super Falcons remain unbeaten against Canada at the women’s World Cup after three encounters (one win and two draws).
Next up for the Falcons is a match against hosts Australia on Thursday, July 27.