BROWNS SUMMIT, N.C.—Set pieces proved to be the difference tonight as eighth-ranked North Carolina edged No. 23 Duke 2-1 in a thriller an ACC men’s soccer thriller at Macpherson Stadium Saturday night. The Tar Heels handed the Blue Devils their first loss of the season.
Duke falls to 4-1-1 overall and 1-1-0 in ACC play with the setback. It was the fourth straight year rivalry game ended in a 2-1 result. Daniele Proch tallied the goal for the Blue Devils in the loss.
“We had a good effort tonight,” said head coach John Kerr. “We were up for it. We played really really well in the first half…disappointed to give away two goals away on corner kicks to kind of give them a little bit of momentum. I thought our first half was excellent. They had to adjust their formation to deal with our firepower and it was unfortunate that they gained some momentum from those two goals. We got one back, but giving one up right before halftime was tough to take.”
North Carolina (6-1, 2-0) got on the board first in the eighth minute as Alan Winn headed home a Cam Lindley corner kick past the near post for the 1-0 victory. The tally for Winn was his fourth goal in four games.
The Tar Heels pressed for a few minutes following the score, but Duke quickly got back into the game and regained control of play. The Blue Devils started to create dangerous opportunities around the North Carolina goal midway through the half.
After knocking on the door for nearly 10 minutes, Duke broke through with the equalizer in the 32nd minute. A spectacular first touch from Kevon Black put the senior past his defender where he was able to slot the ball to Proch, who slipped it past North Carolina goalie Alec Smir for the 1-1 tie.
Set pieces again proved to be the difference as the Tar Heels finished another corner kick. Mauricio Pineda was the beneficiary this time off a flick to the back post from Jelani Pieters for the 2-1 advantage at the half.
The second half was quite evenly played with the two teams sharing possession over the course of the first 20 minutes of the period. Neither team generated scoring opportunities during the run of play until senior Brian White nearly tied it up in the 62nd minute.
Duke goal scorer Proch flighted a ball from the right side to White who headed it back from where it came. As the ball looked like it was going to hit side-netting Smir dove to his left for a spectacular save to preserve the UNC lead.
The Blue Devils again got a tad unlucky late in the game when rookie defender Matthias Frick just missed a finish on the doorstep with 10 minutes to play. Duke continued to press forward in search of a tying score and put forth an incredible effort in the final 90 seconds.
With the final five seconds ticking away, Duke was right on the doorstep. Senior Cameron Moseley gave one last ditch effort that skipped just wide as time expired and giving the Tar Heels the 2-1 victory.
Will Pulisic made one save for the Blue Devils, while Smir also had one stop. Duke held an 11-10 edge in shots and both squads accumulated five corner kicks.
Duke returns to action Sept. 19 against Big Ten foe Wisconsin. Kickoff is at 7 p.m., on ACC Network Extra.