CLEMSON, SC – Alvaro Gomez’s 89th-minute goal of the Sweet Sixteen game made the difference in No.8 Clemson’s 2-1 win over No.9 Kentucky (15-2-4) in the round of 16 of the tournament. the NCAA Sunday night at Historic Riggs Field. After conceding late, Clemson responded and clinched a victory that sent the Tigers (15-5-0) to their 16th Elite Eight of all time.
In a physical first half, Clemson took the upper hand with a goal of Callum johnson in the 14th minute. Ousmane Sylla attacked in midfield and found the winger on an entry pass into the box, and Johnson’s right-footed strike deflected a Kentucky defender and into the net to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
The Wildcats came within inches of an equalizer, but Luke Andrews’ shot rolled just outside the post. Kentucky had another shot from outside the box that couldn’t bend enough to hit the frame. Clemson was outdone 5-3 and both teams got two corners in the first half.
Clemson’s defense stifled the Kentucky offense for most of the second half. It was only at the end of the 85th minute that a cross found the header from Kentucky’s Lucca Rodrigues, who beat Georges marc to his left to tie the game to one each.
Head Coach Mike Noonan commented on the team’s ability to react late: “It’s all about character and senior leadership… It has manifested in so many different ways throughout the year.
Just as it looked like the game was destined for extra time, Justin malou saw a delay sequence Alvaro Gomez, whose perfectly weighted touch made him spring to goal. He beat the Kentucky goalie and sprinted to have the corner flag assaulted by his teammates with just over a minute left in the game.
The time has expired and Clemson has moved on to his third Elite Eight in the past five seasons, and the fourth under Noonan, who couldn’t say enough kind words about the Clemson loyalists.
“You win this game because we are at home and because the crowd was there. It’s a very difficult game if it’s on the road. Thanks to the Clemson devotees.
Next, the Tigers await the outcome of the game between the No.1 Oregon St. and No.16 New Hampshire. A win in Oregon State would see the Tigers travel for an Elite Eight game, while a win in New Hampshire would see the Tigers stage an Elite Eight game for the second time in three seasons. The date, time and broadcast information for the Elite Eight match must be announced.