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Nigeria tops Canada in Group A finale

Jul 6, 2011 - 12:16 AM Dresden, Germany (Sports Network) - Although neither team would advance from Group A, Nigeria and Canada put on an attacking display with many scoring chances in Dresden.

A short power outage at Rudolf Harbig Stadion stopped play halfway through the second half, with Nigeria adapting better following the delay as Perpetua Nkwocha tallied the lone goal in a 1-0 win for the African side over Canada.

"I said yesterday that we needed to take this game seriously and we did, as did Canada," Nigeria coach Ngozi Uche said. "I'm pleased we were able to win the match."

Canada set the tone early by getting into some dangerous positions and taking advantage of some sloppy Nigerian defending.

What followed was a flurry of clear-cut scoring opportunities.

Nigeria's Ebere Orji made a quick run down the left side, received the ball in space, and found herself one-on-one with Karin LeBlanc, but the Canadian goalkeeper made a quick reaction save to keep the match scoreless.

Canada then countered in the 21st minute with a Melissa Tancredi shot that was tipped by Nigerian goalkeeper Precious Dede off the post and out for a corner kick.

Several minutes later, Nigeria possessed the ball down the right side of field, penetrated into the box and slid a low cross in front of the goal, only for Orji's shot to strike the post.

After some even play from both sides, Nigeria struck the woodwork again in similar fashion just before the halftime whistle. A low cross from the right side of the box was redirected toward goal by Nkwocha, but the shot rattled off the post.

Both teams returned for the second half and continued their even exchange of scoring chances. Canada earned several opporunities early in the half by playing some dangerous balls into the box.

Play came to a halt momentarily in the 71st minute due to a power outage at the stadium and once play resumed, Nigeria immediately went on the attack and earned a goal for their efforts.

In the 84th minute, a shot from distance was deflected and trickled into the box, where Nkwocha collected possession and calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net for Nigeria's first and only goal of the tournament.

The result leaves Nigeria in third place in Group A, while Canada, which was expecting to find itself in the knockout round, exits the tournament having lost all three of its matches.

"My team worked very hard today," Canada coach Carolina Morace said. "It was a tough match. We played some good football and the team did everything I told them to. ... but Nigeria scored the goal."