Olympic champion Canada was held to a 0-0 draw by Nigeria in its Women’s World Cup opener in Melbourne, Australia, after Nigerian goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie made several key saves, including one on a penalty from Christine Sinclair.
It was a crucial miss for the Canadian veteran, who is the leading all-time scorer in international soccer, men or women, with 190 goals.
Sinclair lined up for the shot in the 50th minute. Nnadozie dived left for the save. She pointed at her head after she blocked the kick.
Sinclair exited the game in the 70th minute.
Nnadozie also denied a shot from inside the box by Evelyne Viens in the 65th. At the end of the game, she fell to her knees and let out a celebratory yell.
Canadian goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan also made key saves, including a close-range shot in the 80th minute.
WHY IT MATTERS
With neither team able to secure a victory, winning the next two group-stage matches becomes more crucial. A loss for either Nigeria or Canada in their next matches would make advancing out of Group B very difficult. Another draw and the team’s final group stage match would be a must-win.
Canada moves to Perth on Australia’s west coast for its next game against Ireland, which is coming off a 1-0 loss to the Australians in the opening Group B game. Nigeria will play the co-hosts in Brisbane on Thursday. Star Australian striker Sam Kerr missed the win over Ireland because of a calf muscle injury that is also expected to keep her on the sidelines for the game against Nigeria.
AP Women’s World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/fifa-womens-world-cup
Emily Dozier, The Associated Press