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Canada blanks Nigeria in night of celebration

Jessie Fleming broke the tie in the 51st minute against Nigeria. (Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images)

The Canadian women’s national soccer team took care of business against Nigeria on Friday, taking the match 2-0 on a night of celebration.

Prior to the match, Christine Sinclair was celebrated for becoming the all-time international leading goalscorer. She notched a record-breaking 185th goal during the 23rd minute of Canada’s opening match at the 2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifiers in January 2020. She has since built on that lead, reaching the 187-goal mark during the Olympics.

“We had a lot to celebrate tonight,” Sinclair said after the match. “You couldn’t ask for anything more.”

After a scoreless first half, the defending Olympic gold medalists took control in the second.

Jessie Fleming scored first for Canada in the 51st minute before Vanessa Gilles notched the safety goal off a Janine Beckie corner kick in the 72nd minute.

The team also celebrated the retirement of Stephanie Labbé, who made a key save in the 28th minute to keep the score tied at zero. Through 46 minutes, the goalkeeper refused to let one past her, helping the team secure the clean sheet.

She was later met with a standing ovation as she departed the pitch for the final time with the Canadian national team.

“To get that opportunity one last time, it always feels good, it’s always an honor to put on this jersey and to do it with my best friends around me and celebrate this moment with this incredible crowd here and my family and friends here, it was very special,” Labbé said.

“I feel very fortunate that I’ve had this opportunity,” she continued. “I know not all players get this chance so I feel very fortunate to celebrate this moment with everyone that’s close to me and the country that’s supported me so much.”