Canada’s women’s soccer team laboured to salvage a draw with gallant Nigeria in a early Tuesday morning Nigerian time friendly match Canadian coach Bev Priestman characterized as “frustrating.”
But for the late goal by Shelina Zadorsky, Nigeria would have ran away as 2-1 winners. Had the scoreline stood at that, it would had been the second time Nigeria beat Canada after a 1-0 win at the Women’s World Cup tie on 6 July 2011.
Sports Village also recalls that both teams played a 3-3 draw in another World Cup tie in Sweden on 8 June 1995 before the Super Falcon’s 0-2 loss to Canada days ago.
Zadorsky denied Nigeria a win early this morning as she headed home a cross from Janine Beckie in the 88th minute, much to the delight of a boisterous sold-out crowd of 5,434 Monday night at Starlight Stadium.
In another high point for Canada, captain Christine Sinclair added to her legend, increasing her record tally with her 189th international goal.
But the Olympic champions fell behind early when Ifeoma Onumonu played a cheeky backheel past starting goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan in the fifth minute. It came off a free kick that bounced around in front of Sheridan, who had little chance.
Canada immediately pressed and carried much of the play throughout the game. Its best early opportunity came off a free kick by Adriana Leon, which was deflected just over the bar by diving Nigerian keeper Cynthia Nnadozie in the 19th minute.
Beckie then rattled a left-footed offering off the goalpost midway through the half and Kadeisha Buchanan’s follow-up was thwarted by a host of Nigerian defenders off the ensuing scramble.
“There were a lot of positives from this game, but it was frustrating” said Canadian coach Bev Priestman. “We had something like 20 shots, but couldn’t find the back of the net. These two games in B.C. were valuable exercises. We saw the real Nigeria tonight.”
It was the second consecutive meeting in a span of four nights against Nigeria as the friendly series concluded. Canada downed the touring side 2-0 on Friday at a much warmer B.C. Place in Vancouver.