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2015 Women's World Cup

Nigeria’s Njoku banned 3 games for elbow to Kerr

Ugo Njoku’s 2015 Women’s World Cup will be short-lived.

The Nigerian defender received a three-game ban for her elbow to the face of Australia forward Sam Kerr in Friday’s match. Australia won the match, 2-0.

The FIFA Disciplinary Committee announced the suspension on Sunday. The ban means that Njoku will miss Tuesday’s match against the United States in Vancouver.

In the 75th minute of Friday’s match, Njoku violently lifted her elbow into the jaw of Kerr in an incident away from the ball. Referee Stephanie Frappart did not see the incident.

Nigeria coach Edwin Okon said after the game that it was not intentional. Australia coach Allen Stajcic said in his postgame press conference on Friday that Kerr would need to be evaluated for a broken jaw, but minutes later Kerr confirmed that she was merely sore and her jaw had swelled.

Njoku entered the game in the 52nd minute as Okon’s first substitute of the entire tournament. Okon did not go to the bench at all in the opening match, a 3-3 draw with Sweden. Her 38 minutes against Australia will likely be the only she plays this tournament, since Nigeria must pull off an upset against the United States and grab 3 points to have any chance of advancing to the knockout stage.

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