Sinclair denied World Cup history by penalty save

Christine Sinclair missed a chance to become the first player to score at six Fifa World Cups as Canada were held by Nigeria.

Nigeria keeper Chiamaka Nnadozie kept out Sinclair’s spot-kick early in the second half as the Olympic champions were frustrated in Melbourne.

Deborah Abiodun was sent off late on for Nigeria, however they earned a point with a battling display.

Canada and Nigeria have one point in Group B, behind co-hosts Australia.

The Canadians face Republic of Ireland in their next game on 26 July, after the Irish were beaten by Australia on Thursday.

Their captain Sinclair went into this game aiming to make some personal history. The 40-year-old forward was making her 324th international appearance and has scored 190 goals for her country.

She is one of three players to score at five Fifa World Cups – alongside Marta and Cristiano Ronaldo – and seemed destined to make history when she was fouled inside the area by Francisca Ordega early in the second half.

Referee Lina Lehtovaara awarded the penalty after the video assistant referee intervened, however Sinclair’s effort was weak and well saved by impressive Nigerian keeper Nnadozie.

‘Chiamaka’s save really lit the fire’

Chiamaka Nnadozie saves from Christine Sinclair
Nigeria keeper Chiamaka Nnadozie – 18 years younger than Sinclair – denied her penalty and the rebound

“I’m probably going to embarrass her, but I think she’s one of the best young goalkeepers in the world,” said Nigeria coach Randy Waldrum.

“I think Chiamaka’s save really lit the fire and made us realise there’s still something to play for.”

Nigeria, ranked 33 places lower than Canada in the Fifa rankings, defended deep and prevented Canada from many clear chances other than the penalty.

Sinclair fired narrowly wide from the edge of the area in the first half, while Nnadozie kept out Evelyne Viens’ stabbed effort in the second.

“We’ve got to move on very quickly – you can get lost and be really down on that,” said Canada coach Beverly Priestman.

“Of course the team and I are devastated. We didn’t get three points. But at the end of the day we got one and we took two from another team.”

Nigeria came closest to a goal in the first half when a mistake from Canadian keeper Kailen Sheridan allowed forward Asisat Oshoala to round her, however the Barcelona forward’s shot from a tight angle was well blocked by Ashley Lawrence.

VAR again intervened in the final seconds to instruct Lehtovaara to send off Abiodun for a high tackle on Lawrence, after the Finnish official originally only gave a yellow card.

However Nigeria held on to give them fresh hope of getting out of their Women’s World Cup group for only the third time in nine tournaments.



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 16Nnadozie
  • 22Alozie
  • 3Ohale
  • 14DemehinBooked at 54mins
  • 2Plumptre
  • 10Ucheibe
  • 13AbiodunBooked at 90mins
  • 17OrdegaSubstituted forKanuat 73′minutes
  • 7Payne
  • 6OnumonuSubstituted forOkoronkwoat 85′minutes
  • 8OshoalaSubstituted forEcheginiat 90+1′minutes


  • 1Oluehi
  • 4Ogbonna
  • 5Ebi
  • 11Monday
  • 12Kanu
  • 19Echegini
  • 20Imuran
  • 21Okoronkwo
  • 23Balogun


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Sheridan
  • 8RiviereSubstituted forChapmanat 71′minutes
  • 3Buchanan
  • 14Gilles
  • 10LawrenceBooked at 74mins
  • 5Quinn
  • 7GrossoSubstituted forPrinceat 82′minutes
  • 6RoseSubstituted forLacasseat 45′minutes
  • 12SinclairSubstituted forSchmidtat 71′minutes
  • 19LeonSubstituted forViensat 64′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 9Huitema


  • 2Chapman
  • 4Zadorsky
  • 11Viens
  • 13Schmidt
  • 15Prince
  • 16Carle
  • 17Fleming
  • 18D’Angelo
  • 20Lacasse
  • 21Awujo
  • 22Proulx
  • 23Smith

Lina Lehtovaara


Live Text

  1. Match ends, Nigeria 0, Canada 0.

  2. Second Half ends, Nigeria 0, Canada 0.

  3. Évelyne Viens (Canada) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  4. Foul by Évelyne Viens (Canada).

  5. Osinachi Ohale (Nigeria) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Attempt blocked. Jordyn Huitema (Canada) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

  7. Deborah Abiodun (Nigeria) is shown the red card for violent conduct.

  8. VAR Decision: Card upgraded Deborah Abiodun (Nigeria).

  9. Corner, Canada. Conceded by Christy Ucheibe.

  10. Corner, Canada. Conceded by Chiamaka Nnadozie.

  11. Attempt saved. Sophie Schmidt (Canada) left footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Allysha Chapman.

  12. Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  13. Delay in match because of an injury Osinachi Ohale (Nigeria).

  14. Substitution, Nigeria. Onyi Echegini replaces Asisat Oshoala.

  15. Attempt missed. Jordyn Huitema (Canada) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Quinn with a cross.

  16. Offside, Canada. Quinn tries a through ball, but Nichelle Prince is caught offside.

  17. Cloé Lacasse (Canada) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Foul by Deborah Abiodun (Nigeria).

  19. Attempt missed. Jordyn Huitema (Canada) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Sophie Schmidt with a cross following a corner.

  20. Corner, Canada. Conceded by Oluwatosin Demehin.

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