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No. 16 UNC men's soccer team tops Campbell 1-0 in Chapel Hill

UNC sophomore forward Ernest Bawa (20) goes for the ball during the Sept. 14, 2021, men's soccer game against Campbell University. Carolina walked away with a home-field 1-0 win.

The No. 16 ranked North Carolina men’s soccer team (4-1-1, 0-1-0 ACC) defeated Campbell (3-2-1) on Tuesday 1-0 with a goal in the 82nd minute. 

What happened?

Within the first four minutes of the game, North Carolina sophomore Ernest Bawa shot a free kick, but sent the ball above the net. The teams flip-flopped between possessions, spending pretty equal amounts of time on both sides of the field. About 15 minutes into the first half, the Tar Heels began getting sloppy with their passes, miscalculating distances and losing control of the ball several possessions in a row. 

After making three substitutions about 20 minutes into the game, UNC got a bit more physical, registering 3 fouls in just under three minutes -- UNC’s first fouls of the game. By the end of the first half, it seemed that the teams were so well-matched at midfield that it was hard to see which would dominate on either side of it. Though tied at zero at the end of the half, Campbell seemed to be playing more physically, ending the half with seven fouls and two yellow cards compared to UNC’s five fouls.

Just under three minutes into the second half, sophomore Aldair Sanchez fired a shot off an assist from Bawa that hit the right goalpost. This sparked some energy in the Tar Heels, who seemed to be taking more control of the field. 

About halfway into the second half, UNC had two consecutive shots, the first by fifth-year Alex Rose -- which was saved by the goalie -- and the second by first-year Tega Ikoba, which narrowly missed to the right of the goal. 

With less than 10 minutes to go in the game, Campbell senior George Bediko received a yellow card, resulting in a free kick at half field for UNC. Sophomore Riley Thomas kicked the ball to the top of the box, where junior Cameron Fisher took control and scored, breaking the deadlock, and ultimately winning the game for the Tar Heels.

Who stood out? 

Thomas did an impressive job reading both the field and the clock when he nailed a great long pass to Fisher at the end of the game, which Fisher was able to translate into a goal. Rose also stood out on offense; although he had some missed opportunities, he kept the team’s energy up by attacking the goal. He finished with two shots on goal.

When was it decided?

The two teams seemed fairly evenly matched. The game was pretty much at a standstill until the 82nd minute, when Fisher scored the goal to put the Tar Heels up 1-0. 

Why does it matter?

Coming off of their first season loss against No. 5 Pittsburgh on Friday, the Tar Heels were looking to avenge themselves with this game. With a win under their belt, they can find some momentum before their rivalry game on Sunday.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels next face their rival, No. 19 Duke (4-1-0), in Chapel Hill on Sunday, Sept. 19 at 7 p.m.

@DTHSports |