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Waldrum: Super Falcons can take on any team despite Canada defeat

6:08 PM MYT 09/04/2022
Nigeria vs Canada.
Nigeria put up a brave fight especially in the first half before they conceded in the second period at BC Place

Nigeria’s Super Falcons suffered a 2-0 defeat against Olympic champions Canada in an international friendly on Saturday.

Second-half goals courtesy of Jessie Fleming in the 51st minute and Vanessa Gilles in the 72nd minute condemned the Super Falcons to defeat at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver.

It was Canada who looked the most dangerous in the opening stages and they should have taken the lead in the 12th minute when Deanne Rose’s ferocious effort hit the crossbar with Nigeria goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie rooted to the ground.

Canada continued to threaten for the opener and in the 24th minute, they had another good chance but Janine Beckie took time with the ball despite being in a position to shoot and it was taken away by Nigeria defender Glory Ogbonna.

Though Canada enjoyed the upper hand, the game went into the half-time break with the teams tied 0-0. On resumption, Nigeria almost took a shock lead when Uchenna Kanu combined well with Ifeoma Onumonu but her weak effort went inches wide.

However, Fleming broke the deadlock after she put the ball beyond the reach of Nnadozie. Canada, who are ranked sixth in the world, then doubled their lead with 15 minutes left to the final whistle when a corner kick from Janine Beckie found Jordyn Huitema, who in turn passed to Gilles to head home.

Nigeria’s best chance in the second half came in the 80th minute when Rasheedat Ajibade raced to meet a cross from Christy Ucheibe but before she could pull the trigger, Canada’s Ashley Lawrence reacted quickly to kick the ball out for a fruitless corner.

Nigeria’s coach Randy Waldrum admitted he was impressed with the way his side played despite going down.

“The girls feel right now that they can play with anyone in the world,” Waldrum said as quoted by Toronto Star. “But we’re also smart enough to recognize that there are some areas we need to improve in before we’re going to be in that elite category.”

The Super Falcons went into the friendly minus Barcelona star Asisat Oshoala, who was not named in the squad. Nigeria were captained by Ashleigh Plumptre.

The African champions will take on Canada in another match at Starlight Stadium on April 12.