SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Giovanni Montesdeoca's 106th minute winner gave No. 3 North Carolina the victory over No. 8 Notre Dame Friday night in the second period of extra time. Carolina improves to 6-1 (2-0 ACC) on the year and remains unbeaten in its last 11 matches that have gone into extra time.
The Tar Heels controlled the attacking chances the whole night. In the 5th minute a Montesdeoca header off a Jeremy Kelly cross went slightly over the bar to register the first shot of the match.
Mauricio Pineda led the Tar Heels with three shots in the first half. With five minutes remaining in the half, Pineda attempted to curl a right-footed shot into the back post but was stopped by the keeper. Carolina went into the break outshooting the Irish 6-2.
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Carolina opened the second half with back to back chances. In the 46th minute, Raul Aguilera found the ball, pushed it forward and hit a shot that deflected off the back of a turning Notre Dame defender. The deflection slowed down the shot, making it an easy save for the Irish goalkeeper.
The attacking onslaught continued as Carolina would take seven shots in the first 19 minutes of the second half and win five corners in five minutes during that same period. The Tar Heels best chance over that span came in the 61st minute as Lucas Del Rosario had a right footed shot the goalkeeper parried away to the feet of Pineda. Pineda's shot was just wide of the post.
The second half slowed down in the 64th minute, as both teams fought for possession in the midfield until the end of regulation.
Each team had one shot in the first period of extra time. Jeremy Kelly's shot in the 94th minute was destined for goal but an Irish defender got their body in the way to keep the match scoreless.
The Tar Heels broke the deadlock in the 106th minute. Jelani Pieters played a quick pass at the top of the penalty box to Aguilera whose first-touch pass put Montesdeoca past the Irish defense and into a one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Montesdeoca chipped the ball over the keeper into the back post to net his third goal of the 2018 campaign.
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Carolina's defensive effort, led by captain Alex Comsia, should not go unnoticed. The Tar Heel back line held the Irish to three shots, none on target over the 106-minute contest. With the result, Carolina has allowed just four shots or less in five of its last six matches.
The Tar Heels return to action Friday, September 28 at 7 p.m. at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. as they take on Clemson in another ACC battle.