Clemson takes down No. 1 Wake Forest, 2-1
CLEMSON, S.C. — In the 49th meeting on the pitch between Clemson (3-1-0, 1-1 ACC) and No. 1 Wake Forest (3-1, 1-1 ACC), the Tigers came out on top 2-1 thanks to a stellar all-around performance Tuesday night. With the victory, Head Coach Mike Noonan improved to 2-2-1 against top-ranked opponents at Clemson and the Tigers earned their first ACC win of the season.
Clemson’s 2-1 win over No. 1 ranked Wake Forest tonight was the school’s eighth win over the No. 1 team in men’s soccer history. It is Clemson’s first win over No. 1 in the sport since a 2-1 win over Maryland on October 28, 2011. This was Clemson’s second win over a No. 1 Wake Forest team. The other was by a 2-1 score in overtime during the NCAA Tournament in the 2002 season.
The first half went by with few offensive chances as Clemson outshot the Demon Deacons 9-3 and held a 4-2 advantage in corner kicks. The Tiger offense forced the Wake Forest goalkeeper to make four saves, but the two teams entered the halftime break scoreless.
In the 51st minute, Grayson Barber made a stunning run down the right wing. After getting tripped up, he regained his footing and found Kimarni Smith in front of the net who slotted home his 20th career goal to give Clemson the 1-0 advantage.
The lead was short lived, as just seven minutes later the Demon Deacons would find the back of the net on a strike from outside the box that beat goalkeeper George Marks for just the second time this season.
Clemson’s defense stifled the Wake Forest attack all evening and kept the score knotted at 1-1 until the 80th minute when Luis Felipe Fernandez-Salvador took the lay off from Smith and snuck the ball into the bottom right corner of the net. The goal marked Fernandez-Salvador’s second career goal and 10th career point.
The Tigers defense and Marks, who totaled six saves in the victory, continued their incredible performance over the final 10 minutes of the match as Clemson held on to upset the top-ranked Demon Deacons and improve to 3-1 on the season.
Clemson and Wake Forest will meet later in the season when the two teams take to the field in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Oct. 30. The match will be played under the lights of Spry Stadium, with kickoff slated for 5 p.m. This will serve as the Tigers’ final ACC regular season match of the season.