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FIFA Women's World Cup

Randy Waldrum’s Nigeria Super Falcons battle Canada to hard-fought, scoreless draw at Women’s World Cup opener

Photo Courtesy NGSuperFalcons / Nigerian Women's Soccer Twitter

Lead by Pitt women’s soccer head coach Randy Waldrum, Nigeria’s Super Falcons battled FIFA 7th ranked Canada to a scoreless draw in the opening match of the Women’s World Cup in Melbourne, Australia, on Friday.

With the result, both teams are tied in Group Stage with one point each, while Australia leads the group with three points by virtue of its 1-0 win vs Republic of Ireland on Thursday.

Despite the blank score line, the match wasn’t without excitement and thrilling moments.

In an entertaining first half, Canada held 68 percent of the possession, but Nigeria looked dangerous on a few counter attacking chances, including a shot from distance from incoming Pitt Panther, Deborah Abiodun in the 34th minute.

Late in the first half, Nigeria’s best chance came in the 39th minute, when star striker Asisat Oshoala’s ball from the near end line forced forced a nervy goal line clearance.

In the second half, the match played out similarly, with Canada on the ball in large stretches, but Nigeria continued to carefully mount counter chances.

Canada’s best chance came when its all-time leading scorer, Christine Sinclair was fouled in the box in the 49th minute.

The Canadian soccer legend, who is playing in her sixth World Cup, couldn’t convert on her penalty, as her attempt to the right inside post was saved brilliantly by Chiamaka Nnadozie.

Despite an eventful World Cup debut for Abiodun, the matched ended a few minutes early, as she was shown off the field following an unfortunate Red Card in stoppage time as her studs went right into Canadian midfielder Ashley Lawrence’s shins on a hard challenge.

Abiodun will now have to sit out the next match vs Australia.

The Super Falcons though held on for the draw, despite late pressure mounting from the Canadians.

Look for more post match reaction to follow, including quotes from Randy Waldrum on Pittsburgh Soccer Now.  

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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