No. 4 Duke upsets No. 1 Wake Forest, 3-2
FINAL from Spry Stadium: Duke 3-2 Wake Forest.
What a spectacular game of soccer, exactly what we have come to expect from the ACC. No. 4 Duke and No. 1 Wake Forest were each unbeaten coming into the matchup, and the Blue Devils walked out 3-2 victors thanks to two set-piece goals and just enough defense in the end.
Emphasis on just enough. After a scoreless but entertaining first half, both teams totaled 12 shots in the second half. Despite Duke center-back Axel Gudbjornsson's scoring the winner with just under 15 minutes remaining and plenty of great performers, the MVP of the night has to go to Duke goalkeeper Eliot Hamill, whose five second half saves kept the Deacons from equalizing, none more spectacular than a heroic deflection onto the crossbar to deny Babacar Niang a hat trick in the final minute of the game.
Duke handed the Demon Deacons their first loss of the 2022 season, toppling a No. 1 team for the first time since 2014 in the process. It's also Wake Forest's first loss at home in 13 games, which was the longest active streak in DI men's soccer.
🔥 HOW BOUT THEM DEVILS 🔥— Duke Men's Soccer (@DukeMSOC) October 2, 2022
DOWN GOES NO. 1 pic.twitter.com/00i2LJjUZJ
Here are the stats at full time:
Gudbjornsson gives Duke an insurance goal
GOAL 77' Duke 3-1 Wake Forest: The Blue Devils cash in on another set-piece, this time through Axel Gudbjornsson. The towering center-back ever so slightly redirected Miguel Ramirez's corner kick into the bottom right corner of the goal. Duke is now just over 10 minutes away from upsetting the No. 1 Demon Deacons in its first win in Winston-Salem in 14 years.
Three goals in five minutes! Duke leads 2-1
GOAL 61' Duke 2-1 Wake Forest:
Well then! The Blue Devils first took the lead in the 57th minute with a clever Shakur Mohammed header off a Nick Pariano free-kick. The Duke striker measured the flight of the ball with his back to goal and nodded it past Alphin. It's Mohammed's team-high fifth goal of the season.
Barely a minute later, the Demon Deacons leveled it up with a penalty kick goal from Babacar Niang. He drew the foul and slotted the ensuing kick past Hamill for just the fourth goal scored on DI's best defense (based on goals conceded).
The tie lasted just a few minutes, as Jai Bean capitalized on a defensive blunder by Wake center back Garrison Tubbs to restore the Blue Devils' lead. It's been a wild few minutes at Spry Stadium.
Deacs and Devils scoreless at halftime
Very rarely is a 0-0 game at halftime as entertaining as the first half of tonight's match. The Blue Devils held the ball much better in the final 10 minutes, showing they came for more than just to absorb pressure. The first 30 minutes of play were dominated by Wake Forest, who passed the ball around in possession with precision and created plenty of dangerous attacking opportunities.
The Blue Devils held firm, just as we expected from this defense coming into the match. The Deacons have outshot Duke 7-2, testing Duke goalkeeper Eliot Hamill twice in the process. Here's a look at Oscar Sears' long-range effort that whistled past Hamill's left post.
Here's a look at the stats from a scoreless first half in Winston-Salem:
How to watch Duke vs. Wake Forest
- Where: Spry Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
- When: 7 p.m. ET
- How to watch: ACC Network Extra
Previewing Duke vs. Wake Forest
There is rarely a dull weekend in ACC soccer. One week after Wake Forest blew out defending champion Clemson 6-1 on the road, the Demon Deacons welcome No. 4 Duke in yet another high-stakes conference matchup, pitting two of the 10 undefeated teams remaining in DI men's soccer against one another.
This will be the 50th meeting between the programs, with Duke leading the series 24-17-8. The last time the Blue Devils played a top-ranked opponent, it was also on the road against the Demon Deacons in 2018, a game they lost 4-2. In fact, Duke has not won in Winston-Salem since 2006, a streak of seven straight losses to the Deacs at Spry Stadium.
It may sound cliche, but this really is a battle between the unstoppable force and the immovable object. Wake Forest's 28 goals this season is second-highest in the country (behind No. 14 Charlotte's 31), while Duke has allowed just three goals, tied for the lowest amount in DI men's soccer with No. 7 Syracuse and Western Michigan. Despite not scoring in the last three games, Wake Forest is still led in goals by Roald Mitchell's six, double the next-best tally on the team. The fact that the Deacs have six goals in each of their last two matches without Mitchell on the scoresheet shows just how dangerous everyone on the pitch can be. Duke is not as prolific on offense, with 14 in eight games, but its defense has carried it to a top-5 ranking, its highest in nearly a year.