Canada Nigeria
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Canada draws in opener at 2012 U-17 Women's World Cup in Azerbaijan

Canada walked away with a 1-1 draw in the opening day of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Azerbaijan 2012, holding strong for a point against group opponent Nigeria. Amandine Pierre-Louis for Canada and Chinwendu Ihezuo for Nigeria were the goal scorers in the second half. Both sides trail group leader Colombia who picked up three points in a win over host Azerbaijan.


Whitecaps FC Girls elite players Summer Clarke and Jasmin Dhanda both started for Canada and played the full 90 minutes.

After Nigeria hit the woodwork four times in the opening hour, Canada's Pierre-Louis scored the first goal in the 63rd minute shortly after both coaches made their first substitutions. Ihezuo then scored the equaliser in the 79th minute.

Both teams had chances inside the opening quarter hour, although Nigeria held more possession throughout the first half. Just before the 10-minute mark, Nigeria had a couple of chances off corner kicks, with Yetunde Adeboyejo firing a weak shot and then Tessy Biahwo hitting a slightly better shot stopped by Sheridan. In the 11th minute, Pierre-Louis beat Biahwo on the run to get inside the Nigeria box, but she could not manage more than a weak shot on goalkeeper Gift Andy.

Then in the 25th minute, Nigeria hit the crossbar on a header by Chinwendu Ihezuo. Nigeria then hit the frame two more times before the end of the first half, with Chidinma Edeji hitting the post on a shot in the 41st minute and then Canada's Kailen Sheridan tipping a corner kick off the crossbar in the 43rd minute. The Edeji chance was particularly dangerous, with her streaking into a good position down the right side of the box, but simply hitting the post instead of the goal.

Edeji would hit the post one more time, this time with a header from inside the box in the 52nd minute.

In the 63rd minute after changes by both coaches, Canadian substitute Nichelle Prince made a pass forward to Prince on the run down the right side. Prince made no mistake with this opportunity, burying her shot for an important 1-0 lead.

Nigeria, however, would not be left off the scoresheet. Continuing to press, Nigeria finally hit the mark in the 79th minute after a Adeboyejo pass from just inside the box hit Ihezuo at the top of the six-yard box. Ihezuo made no mistake in equalising the score with just over a dozen minutes left to play.

As best as they tried, the Nigerians could not hit the target a second time in the match against the Canadians. The match finished a 1:1 draw with both sides taking a point on the opening day of competition.

According to FIFA statistics, Nigeria held 54% of possession in the 90-minute match at Tofig Bahramov Stadium in Baku, although Canada held slightly more in the second half. Nigeria also fired 27 shots and won 10 corner kicks, while Canadian goalkeeper Sheridan made nine saves (not counting two by her post and another one by her crossbar). Goal scorer Amandine Pierre-Louis was selected player of the match for Canada.

Canada's starting XI featured Kailen Sheridan in goal, Lindsay Agnew at right back, Kailen Sheridan and Rebecca Pongetti at centre back, Madeline Iozzi at left back, and Summer Clarke, Rebecca Quinn, Ashley Lawrence, Jasmin Dhanda, Amandine Pierre-Louis and Nicole Loncar from the midfield up through to the attack. In the second half, coach Bryan Rosenfeld switched Dhanda with Nichelle Prince (61'), Pierre-Louis with Emily Pietrangelo (79'), and Loncar with Jordyn Listro (88')

Nigeria's starting XI featured Gift Andy in goal, Sarah Nnodim, Victoria Aidelomon, Jiroro Idike and Ebere Okoye along the back, and Chidinma Edeji, Tessy Biahwo, Yetunde Adeboyejo, Mabel Effiom, Halimatu Ayinde, and Chinwendu Ihezuo from the midfield up through to the attack. In the second half, coach Peter Debevdo replaced Effiom with Oluchi Ofoegbu (62') and Adeboyejo with Aminat Yakubu (83')