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Clemson men’s soccer defeats Gamecocks 4-1

The Clemson Tigers men’s soccer team defeated rival South Carolina 4-1 on Friday night in front of their home fans.


The Tigers dominated the Gamecocks in their biggest test of the early season, as they out shot their rivals 22-3.


The match got off to an inauspicious start for the Tigers after South Carolina forward Trygve Ellingstad broke in behind and appeared to be in on a breakaway for the Gamecocks. Clemson defender Patrick Bunk-Andersen was able to make a late tackle at the top of the box to save the Tigers from falling into an early hole.

The Tigers were able to respond from the early adversity with chances of their own in the 11th minute. A loose ball in the box fell to captain Olivier Shannon, but just as he was about to shoot, Shannon was knocked to the ground by a sweeping challenge. Protests from several Tigers were not enough to convince the referee to call for a penalty. Despite the call, the Tigers were able to score on the ensuing corner kick taken by Diego Campos. The curling cross from Campos deflected off a Gamecock defender to beat the diving keeper.

The Tigers nearly increased their lead moments after the first goal when freshman Robbie Robinson’s shot from outside the box was saved by South Carolina goalie William Pyle’s fingertips. Robinson, who has impressed in his first games as a Tiger, was inserted into the starting lineup for the first time on Friday night. The move proved to be a successful one as Robinson was able to create several chances for himself and his teammates throughout the match.

After the Robinson chance, it appeared as though the Tigers were beginning to seize control of the match until a low driven strike from South Carolina forward Luca Mayr found the left corner of the net in the 25th minute. After receiving a pass from outside the box, Mayr took one touch and provided the equalizer for his side.

The moment of the match came in the 29th minute when Clemson senior Jason Wright was able to curl a shot from seemingly no angle. The ball was placed perfectly as it struck the inside of the far post before crossing the goalline. Wright’s shot provided the Tigers with a jolt of energy before the half and removed the uneasiness that came after the Gamecocks goal.

The second half consisted of back and forth action with very few chances from either side until Wright unleashed another shot from the top of the box that rattled the crossbar. While Wright was unable to find the net with this shot, he was able to rejuvenate the Tigers for a second time.  
Bunk-Andersen was able to provide the Tigers with their second set-piece goal of the match on a corner kick in the 66th minute when he rose above the Gamecock defenders and netted the ball with a powerful header. The goal provided the Tigers with the much needed breathing room that they had been searching for.

Bunk-Andersen and the Tiger defense were able to frustrate the Gamecocks for most of the match. Perhaps the most encouraging sign of the early season has been the performance of the Tiger defense, which has only conceded two goals in their first three matches. If the Tigers are going to make a postseason push they will have to continue to rely on players like Bunk-Andersen and Malik Mbaye to continue playing in top form.

The Tigers were able to add a fourth goal in the dying minutes of the game when freshman forward Kimarni Smith finished a shot into the bottom right corner. Smith made Gamecock defenders uneasy all night by attacking them with superb speed, and his effort finally paid off in the goal column in the 87th minute.

The Tigers will leave for their first road trip of the season when they take on Georgia Southern at 7 p.m. on Monday.


Later in the week, the Tigers will begin their quest for the ACC title when they take on the NC State Wolfpack on Friday night at 7 p.m. NC State will be the first of many tough division opponents the Tigers must face to claim the ACC crown.

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