LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Seventh-ranked Louisville used three second-half goals to come away with a 3-0 victory over the No. 2 Blue Devils Sunday afternoon in the ACC men’s soccer opener for both teams. The loss is the first for Duke in 2018.
Louisville, following a 3-0 midweek loss to Kentucky, improves to 3-1 on the year, while Duke drops to 3-1. The No. 7 Cardinals are the first of three straight top 25 opponents for the Blue Devils.
Louisville had the better of play in the opening 45, but only tested Duke goalkeeper Will Pulisic as the Blue Devils’ backline remained composed to thwart any truly dangerous opportunities. The Cardinals had an early shot skip wide and continued to apply pressure to the Blue Devils, but only got one shot on frame in the opening 45 minutes.
Duke struggled at times to get into a rhythm and connect through the midfield and into the offensive third. The lone shot of the first half for Duke came off the foot of Max Moser as Louisville goalkeeper Jake Gelnovatch secured the ball on the wet turf.
Rookie center back Aedan Stanley was excellent for Duke in the first half, blocking a pair of point-blank shots to send the Blue Devils into the break all square, 0-0.
Louisville, after holding a 6-1 shot advantage in the first half, broke through in the 53rd minute on a great individual effort by Adam Wilson. The senior used a quick touch to get around a Duke defender and curled a shot out of reach of Pulisic for the 1-0 lead.
Duke picked up its play and sense of urgency after falling behind as Daniele Proch got into the game more to help create dangerous scoring opportunities. Kevin Feucht had a great chance off of a cross, but his header sailed over the bar.
Rookie Issa Rayyan also proved effective for the Blue Devils on the wing and sent a ball to the back post for Moser that just missed in the 60th minute. Duke continued to attack and keep the Cardinals on their heels as it earned corner kicks and throw-ins deep in Louisville territory.
Junior midfielder Torbjørn Alseth had an outstanding strike in the 60th minute that sailed inches wide of the net.
The Cardinals, after absorbing Duke’s pressure, put the game out of reach for the Blue Devils in the 78th minute with a goal off a corner kick. Ziyad Fekri was at the back post and headed the corner kick service in to give Louisville the 2-0 lead.
Elijah Amo made it 3-0 in the 82nd minute, calmly putting away a one-on-one with keeper Pulisic.
Overall, Louisville led Duke in shots 14-7. Pulisic finished with three saves, while Gelnovatch had two for the Cardinals.
Duke returns home for the first time in two weeks to host Tobacco Road rival North Carolina Sept. 14. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m., against the Tar Heels. The game will be televised by RSN.