Down a goal midway through the second half, the No. 8 North Carolina men’s soccer team rallied to score two goals in the final 20 minutes at Koskinen Stadium in Durham on Friday to earn a 2-1 victory over Duke.
After a first half where North Carolina (10-2-1, 4-1-1 ACC) and Duke (4-6-2, 1-4-1 ACC) only had two shots apiece, Duke controlled possession early in the second half and grabbed a 1-0 lead on Cameron Moseley’s header off a corner kick.
Playing from behind, the Tar Heels forced the issue against the Blue Devils and were rewarded when Nils Bruening headed Jeremy Kelly’s cross into the back of the net to tie the game with 20 minutes remaining.
Following the goal, neither North Carolina nor Duke generated any serious scoring threats and it looked like the game was headed to overtime. All of that changed when Zach Wright received a pass at midfield and proceeded to weave around four Duke defenders and fire a shot by goalkeeper Robert Moewes from 15 yards away to give the Tar Heels the lead with just nine minutes left to play.
Who stood out?
Bruening initially stood out for his mistake that put the UNC behind. On Duke’s corner kick, Bruening marked Moseley and whiffed on his clearing header and Moseley made him pay for his mistake by giving Duke the lead.
Bruening quickly put the mistake behind him when he saw Jeremy Kelly’s cross entering the box. Bruening got around his defender and drilled his header into the goal for the equalizer.
When Mauricio Pineda delivered the ball to Wright on the left sideline near midfield, it looked like one of many routine passes in the game. Wright took the ball up field but had four Duke defenders in front of him and no teammates to help him. Wright took it upon himself to make a play.