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Nnadozie saves penalty as Super Falcons hold Canada in World Cup opener

Nnadozie saves penalty as Super Falcons hold Canada in World Cup opener

Nigeria’s Super Falcons earned a well-deserved draw in their opening 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup game, playing goalless against Canada early Friday morning.

Goalkeeper and captain for the day, Chiamaka Nnadozie, was the Super Falcons’ saviour, stopping a 50th minute penalty from Canada captain Christine Sinclair.

Super Falcons goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie saves from the spot against Canada

The 40-year-old who was appearing in her sixth World Cup tournament, was hoping to become the oldest goal scorer at the Women’s World Cup.

Christine Sinclair Super Falcons Canada

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic champions who were heavy favourites pegged the Falcons in their own half in the early stages of the first half with quality exchange of passes, but the disciplined Nigerian side stopped them from making any meaningful impact with their patterned defensive play.

Canada’s best chance of the first half fell to Sinclair in the 12th minute, but her curling shot went over the bar.

As the game progressed the Falcons began to grow into the game, creating chances of their own.

Falcons had a chance to go ahead kn the 23rd minute, but the Canadian keeper parried away Ifeoma Onumonu shot which was going into her bottom left corner.

Both sides went to half time even on scores.

At the resumption of the second half, Canada again dominated possession and were rewarded with a penalty kick after Francesca Ordega was adjudged to have brought down her opponent in the penalty box after a VAR review by the referee.

Nnadozie was however equal to the task, saving from six yards out.

The Nigerian team were reduced to 10 in the closing stages of the eight-minute injury time after Deborah Abiodun was sent off for dangerous play. The referee who had earlier given her a yellow card withdrew the card and sent her off after reviewing the incident from the on-field monitor.

They were however able to hold on, securing a remarkable draw.

Falcons play group leaders and co-hosts Australia in their second game of the World Cup next week Thursday.

Australia defeated Republic of Ireland in their opening game of the mundial Thursday evening.

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