Honours, celebrations as Canada’s women’s soccer team defeats Nigeria in an exhibition match


Canada’s women’s soccer team celebrated their Olympic title with a 2-0 win over Nigeria in a friendly on Friday.

Jessie Flemming opened the scoring in the 51st minute and Vanessa Gilles strengthened the home team’s lead with a goal in the 72nd minute.

Veteran Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé has come through the final 45 minutes of her soccer career perfectly. She was replaced just after half-time by Kailen Sheridan, who saved the goal.

Canada played in red jerseys with each player’s name and number emblazoned in gold on the back, a nod to the medal the team won at last summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

WATCH l Canada women’s soccer team clinches Celebration Tour victory over Nigeria:

Canada women’s soccer team clinches Celebration Tour victory over Nigeria

Jessie Fleming scored the opening goal in the 51st minute as Canada beat Nigeria 2-0 in the opening game of the Women’s National Team Celebration Tour. 1:05

The Canadians are currently sixth in the world rankings and Nigeria is 39th.

The two sides meet again on Monday in Langford, BC for the second game of the BC leg of the Celebration Tour

Canada took a 2-0 lead in the 72nd minute from a Janine Beckie corner.

Jordyn Huitema headed the ball and sent it to Gilles, who headed it past Nigeria goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie.

Sheridan made her biggest stop of the night in the 68th minute when she dived to send a blast from Oyedupe Payne just wide of the post.

Deanne Rose set up the first goal of the game, sending the ball to Flemming at the top of the six-yard box in the 51st minute. Flemming fired from a tight angle high over goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi’s shoulder.

Oluehi was replaced by Nnadozie in the 70th minute after apparently suffering an injury.

WATCH l Vancouver honors Canada women’s soccer team’s Olympic gold medal win:

Vancouver honors the Canadian women’s soccer team’s Olympic gold medal win

Canada’s women’s soccer team is celebrated for winning their historic Olympic gold medal. 5:02

Labbé, who is retiring, gets a standing ovation

The second half started with an emotional moment when Sheridan replaced Labbé in goal.

The senior goalkeeper greeted the standing, cheering crowd – including quite a chunk of her friends and family – before hugging her replacement on the sidelines.

Tears streamed down Labbé’s face as she hugged head coach Bev Priestman, the rest of the Canada coaching staff and her teammates on the sidelines.

The 35-year-old native of Stony Plain, Alta. announced her retirement in January and has already played her last game for her professional team, Paris-Saint Germain.

WATCH l Canada’s women’s soccer team says goodbye to Stephanie Labbé:

Canada’s women’s soccer team says goodbye to Stephanie Labbé

Olympic gold medal goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé is ending her professional and international career after playing on home soil for the last time. 1:58

The home side controlled most of the action in the first half but Labbé was brought on in the 28th minute.

Rasheedat Ajibade broke through the Canadian defense and sent a rocket from the top of the box but Labbé dived to save a fingertip and hold the 0-0.

Canada had an excellent chance in the 19th minute when Beckie sent a cross into Sinclair’s box. The captain went for a header and shot into Oluehi’s midsection from just outside the six-yard box.

Sinclair honored in pre-game ceremony

Sinclair was honored in a pre-game ceremony for breaking the international goal record when she scored her 185th goal in January 2019.

At the much-delayed celebration, video of some of Sinclair’s highlights was shown on the big screen before the 38-year-old from Burnaby, BC, and her two nieces took the field, where they received a commemorative print and a standing ovation from the hometown crowd .

WATCH l Celebration of Christine Sinclair’s International Goalscoring Record:

Celebration for Christine Sinclair’s international scorer record

Christine Sinclair, the captain of the Canada women’s soccer team, is being honored for breaking an international goal record in January 2020. The 38-year-old has now scored 188 goals in 308 games for Canada. 3:06

Great cheers filled the stadium as the Canadians took the field before kick-off. The players with gold medals around their necks clapped and waved to the cheering crowd before being presented with the Olympic championship rings.

On Friday, Canada and Nigeria women’s teams met for the first time since April 2019 when Canada won 2-1 in a friendly in Spain.

Canada played its first game at BC Place since November 2017 when the women’s team battled the Americans to a 1-1 draw.

WATCH l A look back at some of Christine Sinclair’s best goals:

Looking back at Christine Sinclair’s best goals in her journey into football history

Canada captain Christine Sinclair scored her 185th international goal on Wednesday, breaking the all-time record. So we take a look back at some of their best. 3:54


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