Thursday, June 20, 2024

Nigeria: Nigeria vs Canada – Chiamaka Nnadozie Shows Captain's Performance

Captain Nnadozie made a crucial penalty save, and Demehin and Abiodun were impressive debutants.

The Super Falcons got off to a solid start in their 27th FIFA Women’s World Cup match, drawing 0-0 with Olympic champions Canada.

The Nigerian squad had conceded the most goals in FIFA Women’s World Cup history (63), but captain and custodian Chiamaka Nnadozie made sure she did not concede the 64th goal against Canada on 21 July.

Coach Randy Waldrum replaced captain Onome Ebi with debutant Blessing Demehin, and another debutant, Deborah Abiodun, replaced the suspended Halimatu Ayinde. In the attack, Ifeoma Onumonu replaced the suspended Rasheedat Ayinde on the left flank.

Here are the players’ ratings.

Chiamaka Nnadozie [Goalkeeper] 90 minutes

The 22-year-old was the hero after saving Christine Sinclair’s penalty at the beginning of the second half. She also made great clearing punches from free kicks and corners and was decisive in coming off her line to give confidence to her team. The penalty save was world-class, and the follow-up to palm away the rebound was outstanding.

Rating: 8/10

Ashleigh Plumptre [Left back] 90 minutes

The WSL-based centre-back filled her left-back role admirably, though she left voids when she sometimes joined the attack.

Rating: 6/10

Osinachi Ohale [Centre back] 90 minutes

A calming influence on her debuting partner, and she read the balls well to make crucial interventions when needed.

Rating: 7/10

Blessing Demehin [Centre back] 90 minutes

Some mistakes crept into her game late on, but she more than held her own in one-on-one situations and dovetailed nicely with her more experienced partner.

Rating: 6.5/10

Michelle Alozie [Right back] 90 minutes

The USA-based defender gave an energetic performance, though she could have been more effective in the final third when she got into some promising positions.

Rating: 6.5/10

Ifeoma Onumonu [Left wing] 85 minutes

Gangly Onumonu got Nigeria’s first shot on target and tried to create some goal-scoring chances for Oshoala. She looked more attuned to a central role than on the flanks, but she was defensively sound.

Rating: 6.5/10

Toni Payne [Midfield] 90 minutes

Nigeria’s midfield runner and quiet conductor. She was buzzing all match and took almost all set pieces.

Rating: 7.5/10

Christy Ucheibe [Midfield] 90 minutes

One foundation on which Nigeria’s defensive plan was hinged and she was athletic and physical. Though she would have liked to circulate the ball better, she closed down spaces till the end.

Rating: 7.5/10

Deborah Abiodun [Midfield] 90 minutes

Despite the late red card, 19-year-old Abiodun played like a veteran. She was unafraid to get on the ball or get stuck when her team needed it–a great addition to the team.

Rating: 7.5/10

Francisca Ordega [Right wing] 73 minutes

Not a great showing from the veteran, maybe because she had to do more defensive work. She would be very relieved after her foul for the penalty was saved. She has lost some pace and may have to start on the bench in the next match.

Rating: 6/10

Asisat Oshoala [Centre Forward] 90 minutes

Not many goal-scoring chances for the Barcelona ace, and she could have done better in the 35th minute when she had an open goal to aim at. She led the line brilliantly, and Coach Waldrum must find a better way to utilise her speed and strength in the next group matches.

Rating: 6/10