Goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie was the unlikely hero as Nigeria’s Super Falcons played out an impressive goalless draw with Olympic champions Canada in their Group B opener in the early hours of Friday.
The Paris FC goalkeeper’s second-half penalty save earned a massive point for Nigeria which may be crucial for the Falcons later on in the group comprising Australia and the Republic of Ireland.
The nervousness of the Nigerian ladies saw them caged in their half by the Canadians in the opening minutes of the game, but the Falcons managed to keep their opponents at bay.
Nigeria’s first shot on target came in the 22nd minute when the Falcons had acclimatized themselves with the flow of the game, Ifeoma Onumonu’s shot forced a save from goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan.
Three minutes after the break, the Canadians were awarded a penalty after a VAR review following a foul by Francisca Ordega on Sinclair Christine, the team’s most capped player.
Meanwhile, Sinclair took the penalty and was saved by Nnadozie to keep Nigeria in the game. Another crucial save from the goalkeeper came in the 66th minute when she comfortably caught an effort by Evelyne Viens.
The goalkeeper’s performance in the game earned her ‘Player of the Match’ award and afterwards went inspirational on her social media page, where she wrote: “Dear Girl Child, dreams do come true”
Nigeria finished the game with 10 players after debutant Deborah Abiodun was shown a straight red card in the eighth minute of added time after a foul on Ashley Lawrence.
Nigeria will next play Group B toppers Australia at the Brisbane Stadium. Australia defeated Republic of Ireland 1-0 in the other Group B game.