Nigeria and Canada have 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, Christine Sinclair, stepped up to the spot but was thwarted by a superb stop low to her left by the Super Falcons skipper Chiamaka Nnadozie.
With Melbourne Rectangular Stadium bathed in early afternoon sunshine, a tight first half saw Canada shade possession but the best of the chances fall Nigeria’s way.
Ifeoma Onumonu had an effort parried wide by Kailen Sheridan midway through the half before a vital intervention from Vanessa Gilles 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.
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 before 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 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.