The Super Falcons kicked off their FIFA Women's World Cup campaign against Canada, in what turned out to be a tightly-contested fixture. Randy Waldrum's girls came into this match as clear underdogs; and despite finishing with 10 women, they managed to hold on for their first point of the competition.
Full Time at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium
🇨🇦 Canada 0-0 Nigeria 🇳🇬
Chiamaka Nnadozie's penalty save secured a point for the Super Falcons. pic.twitter.com/PgGju0HthZ
— Leagues Reporter (@LeaguesReporter) July 21, 2023
Super Falcons vs Canada: goalless after 90 minutes
Both teams had a slow start to Friday's match, and this is mostly because the Super Falcons adopted a defensive approach from the start. As a result, the Canadians dominated most of the first half, as they had 68 percent of the ball. In spite of this however, Canada were unable to register a single shot on target; it was the Super Falcons who had more shots, and more shots on goal at the midway point of today's match.
The second half was more of the same; more defending from the Super Falcons, and more pressure from the Canadians. However, it was the Maple Leafs who dominated on all fronts; as they registered 11 total shots in the second half, with three of those going on target. On the other hand, the Super Falcons had just four shots, and all were off target. It may interest you to know that Randy Waldrum's girls finished Friday's match with just 32 percent of the ball, in 90 minutes.
Chiamaka Nnadozie's penalty save
Although Friday's match turned out to be fruitless in goal-scoring terms, it's worth mentioning that the Canadians had a golden opportunity to draw first blood, shortly after the start of the second half. Nigeria's Francisca Ordega fouled Christine Sinclair, and after a VAR review, the Maple Leafs were awarded a penalty. However, Chiamaka Nnadozie came up clutch when it mattered, denying the Canadian captain's effort.
Nigeria made sure to show their keeper Nnadozie the love after her penalty save helped them earn a point against Canada 🤗 pic.twitter.com/Y4SaZLShOZ
— B/R Football (@brfootball) July 21, 2023
Super Falcons reduced to 10 women
19 year old Deborah Abiodun received her marching orders in the 97th minute, due to a bad challenge on Canada's Ashley Lawrence. VAR came into play once again, as the on-field officials were unable to spot the foul when it happened. Interestingly, Abiodun was a vital part of Nigeria's midfield; she touched the ball a total of 52 times, with seven tackles, one blocked shot and one interception.
Also, Deborah Abiodun contested for 10 ground duels, winning seven of them. It may interest you to know that just last year, she played for Nigeria's Under 20 team. The 19 year old had an impressive performance in her World Cup debut, despite the red card.
Deborah Abiodun's first half vs Canada:
7 accurate passes (43%)
5 ground duels won (90%)
2 aerial duels won (50%)
4 tackles (Most in the Super falcons team) #SoarSuperFalcons #FIFAWWC pic.twitter.com/glYhdEpxde
— 🔥⚡UCHE⚡🔥 the Sport Fanatic (@still_uch3) July 21, 2023
Where this result leaves the Super Falcons on the league table
🏴FULL TIME! in Melbourne 📍
Nigeria 🇳🇬 0-0 Canada 🇨🇦
We made a brave start to our ninth campaign on the global stage with a draw against the Olympics champions despite finishing the encounter with 10 players in Melbourne 📍#NGACAN #FIFAWWC #SoarSuperFalcons pic.twitter.com/FZikeh90Sz
— NGSuper_Falcons (@NGSuper_Falcons) July 21, 2023
As it stands, the Super Falcons are currently tied in second-place with today's opponents. Co-hosts Australia currently lead the Group B table with three points, while the Republic of Ireland are in last place. The Super Falcons will go up against Group B leaders Australia in their next match, which takes place on Thursday next week. It's important to note that only the top two teams will make it through to the round of 16.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 months ago