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Canada unable to crack Nigeria defense in goalless match at women’s World Cup opener

Chiamaka Nnadozie

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.

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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.

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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.

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