Kiwis delay Canada charge
FIFA Women's World Cup hosts Canada battled out a scoreless stalemate inside a tough encounter against Nz at the Commonwealth Stadium.The match, including a 30-minute first-half stoppage as lightning lurked around Edmonton, was obviously a torrid and physical contest from a to z. There was a litany of near-misses at either end with both teams hitting the frame with the goal, including a missed penalty from New Zealand's Amber Hearn.
Following a early half-hour delay, New Zealand had the first sight of goal with Hearn directing a perfect looping header from distance only to see it tipped over from the reliable Erin McLeod. Canada's best chance of the half came midway through with Christine Sinclair charging down on goal only to be denied by one of the superb Erin Nayler blocks.
Nz should have taken charge just past the half-hour mark but Football Ferns' all-time top scorer Hearn hit her penalty against the crossbar after Hannah Wilkinson was brought down. Canada's Melissa Tancredi deflected the ball in the net in the final minute from the half only to be denied with the offside flag.
After the break Sinclair directed an ingenious opportunistic volley towards goal only to see a brilliant finger-tip save from Erin Nayler direct the ball on the crossbar. Then it was the turn of Sophie Schmidt to ping the crossbar together with her free-kick from near the sideline.Tancredi missed a golden opportunity with only the keeper to conquer as her underhit shot was again saved by Nayler. The 35,544 crowd found their full voice in the later stages since the home team arrived the heat but star forward Sinclair squeezed the initial shot agonisingly wide of the post, and it was clearly not meant to be Canada's night.
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