DURHAM, N.C.—Clemson senior Diego Campos netted a hat trick as the 11th-ranked Tigers earned a 4-1 victory over the 16th-ranked Blue Devils in ACC men’s soccer action tonight at Koskinen Stadium. The loss stops Duke’s three-game win streak.
Clemson improves to 10-3-0 and 3-3-0 in ACC play, while Duke falls to 10-3-1 and 3-3 against conference foes. Duke sits in a tie for third place with Virginia in the Coastal Division with nine points. The Blue Devils, Cavaliers and Clemson all are tied for fifth overall in the league. Duke was forced to play the entire second half with 10 men due to a red card late in the first half.
“Clemson came out on fire and got two early goals and we were scratching and trying to find a way to shut them down and then bounce back and we did,” said head coach John Kerr. “Then the red card kind of changed everything late in the first half.”
The game featured end-to-end action from the opening whistle. Clemson got off to a fast start, testing Duke rookie goalkeeper Will Pulisic in the early minutes. The Tigers forced Pulisic to make a save and also earned a corner kick in the opening three minutes of action.
The Blue Devils weathered the brief storm from Clemson and came right back and created dangerous chances of their own. In the ninth minute, sophomore Max Moser sent one of his patented crosses from the right side into the box where Markus Fjørtoft was denied by a spectacular save from Ximo Miralles on the doorstep.
Action shifted back to Duke’s defensive third in the ensuing minutes with Pulisic picking up two more saves before Campos was able to sneak one past him to the low left corner from 12 yards out. Oliver Shannon provided the quick pass into the box for Clemson’ No. 10.
Five minutes later the Tigers struck again as Campos was the beneficiary of good combination play. The senior midfielder finished with textbook accuracy, beating Pulisic far post again for a 2-0 lead in the 26th minute.
Duke, on its back foot facing a 2-0 deficit, got one back in the 38th minute when Brian White put in a rebound from Daniel Wright. The goal was White’s career-best ninth of the year and third in as many games. Wright sparked the play, breaking through the defense, only to have his shot blocked and leaving White an open goal.
The momentum pendulum took a big turn in Clemson’s favor in the 43rd minute when Duke went down a man to a red car. The Blue Devils finished the half trailing 2-1 and down to 10 men for the nine 48 minutes.
Clemson, looking to put the game away for good and take advantage of its extra man, capitalized twice early in the second period. Campos completed his natural hat trick with an unassisted tally, while Saul Chincilla notched his first career score to make it 4-1.
Duke continued to play hard throughout the final 35 minutes and did well to get possession for prolonged stretches, but was unable to dig out of the hole. Pulisic finished the night with five saves for the Blue Devils and Miralles stopped four for Clemson.
“I thought we fought back hard after we were down 2-0,” Kerr said. “For the rest of the [second] half I was glad we stood strong. We had a lot of the play. We were man down for over a half and we created a couple opportunities and we didn’t give any more goals away so I think there is a little bit of a moral victory going into next week.”
Clemson outshot the Blue Devils 21-10 and 10-1 in the second half while playing with an extra man.
The Blue Devils hit the road next to No. 7 Notre Dame Oct. 20 at 7 p.m.