The Boston College men’s soccer team traveled to Durham, North Carolina on Friday to face the ninth-ranked Duke Blue Devils. In a physical match that saw each team have its share of scoring opportunities, the Duke offense erupted late in the second half for a 3-2 victory.
Neither team was able to pull away in a defensive first half despite a flurry of chances. BC was unable to find the back of the net on its first true scoring opportunity, as an offsides call 25 minutes in snuffed out a promising play where the Eagles had a one-man advantage in the box. Just three minutes later, Duke had a one-on-one opportunity with only goalkeeper Antonio Chavez Borrelli to beat, but forward Issa Rayyan’s shot careened off the post and Borrelli made an immediate save on a rebound attempt. As a result, the Eagles and Blue Devils entered the locker room knotted up 0-0 in a scoreless match.
But in a match dominated by defense in the early stages, the offenses came alive in the second half. After the Eagles stonewalled two scoring chances off free kicks, Duke midfielder Kristofer Gardarsson delivered a brilliant cross to the left post where freshman defender Ian Murphy was eagerly waiting, converting on a header for his first career goal in the 57th minute.
However, the Eagles did not wait long to even the score. Midfielder Beto Luna controlled a pass from Joe Kellet in the 69th minute, sped past his defender, and slid the ball past Duke goalkeeper Will Pulisic for the equalizer, giving Luna his second goal of the season.
After each team had finally broken through, the match reached a critical point during which both sides had the chance to pull away. While the game often seemed to fall into a stalemate due to both teams’ swarming defenses, the next goal would likely make all the difference.
Ultimately, the Blue Devils seized the opportunity. Murphy added his second goal of the night on a cross from Daniele Proch. Proch then knocked in a header four minutes later to give Duke a 3-1 lead with a mere 13 minutes to play. The Eagles attempted to stage a comeback, but although midfielder Heidar Aegisson was able to pull BC back to within one with three minutes left, the Eagles could not find another equalizer in such limited time, dropping to 2-2-3 on the season.
Despite the loss, the goalkeeper Borrelli was brilliant throughout the match. He made some tremendous saves to keep the game close, including a difficult kick save on a shot that would have put Duke ahead 2-0 earlier in the match. However, Duke’s high-powered offense was the difference, as Murphy keyed the victory with two goals.
This could prove to be a demoralizing loss for BC, which has now dropped two consecutive ACC games by one-goal margins. The Eagles hope to bounce back and pick up a much-needed conference win next Friday at 7 p.m. in South Bend, Indiana against Notre Dame (3-3-1).
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