DURHAM, N.C.—Georgetown scored in the sixth minute and held off a furious second-half charge from ninth-ranked Duke to come away with a 1-0 road win in non-conference men’s soccer action tonight at Koskinen Stadium.
The Blue Devils fall to 3-2-0 on the year and are amidst a two-game scoring drought. Georgetown improves to 4-2-1 while posting its third shutout of the season.
“Our quality wasn’t there in the final third tonight,” said head coach John Kerr. “We had some good moments and we didn’t capitalize. We certainly have to improve in that department.”
Duke, returning to game action for the first time in nine days and for just the second time since August 31, got off to a slow start. The Blue Devils struggled to get into a rhythm and were forced into some uncharacteristic mistakes.
Georgetown, ever the opportunist, wasted no time in taking advantage as Dylan Nealis capitalized on a Duke turnover in its defensive third and sent a perfect cross to striker Achara who headed it home for the 1-0 lead.
The Hoyas continued to have the better of play over the next 15 or 20 minutes before the Blue Devils settled in and started looking for ways to attack into the final third. Duke fired five shots in the first half, but none were threatening as it headed into halftime trailing 1-0.
The second half was an entirely different story as the Blue Devils were on their front foot right from the opening whistle. Duke played with a sense of urgency and intensity that was lacking in the opening 45 minutes, but couldn’t find that final pass for the equalizer.
“I think our response in the second half after a really poor first half was excellent,” Kerr said. “Just again, our quality…we had some really good forges into the final third and we just didn’t get that last pass right.”
Rookie midfielder Issa Rayyan was outstanding as the half wore on, wearing down the Hoya defenders with his shiftiness on the right flank. He created a handful of dangerous opportunities, including firing a shot on frame that required Hoya goalkeeper Giannis Nikopolidis to make a fantastic fingertip save.
Blue Devil leading scorer Daniele Proch had arguably the best chance of the night in the 75th minute as he got inside 12 yards, but was denied by Nikopolodis.
With Georgetown looking to ice the victory in the 86th minute, Duke goalie Will Pulisic had other ideas as he stopped a one-on-one opportunity by Derek Dodson. Pulisic finished the night with four saves, while Nikopolidis had five.
The Hoyas had 16 shots to Duke’s 10 and held a 3-2 advantage in corner kicks.
The Blue Devils resume ACC play Friday, Sept. 21 against Boston College. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m., on ACC Network Extra.