Syracuse men’s soccer prevails over Clemson 2-0 to win ACC Championship
Syracuse men’s soccer prevails over Clemson to win ACC Championship
In a fitting end to what has been a dominant tournament run, the Orange went down to North Carolina Sunday and prevailed over No. 7 Clemson to win the program’s second ACC Championship. Syracuse’s last championship win came in 2015 with current head coach and ACC coach of the year Ian McIntyre where they defeated Notre Dame 1-0.
No. 4 Syracuse’s previous game against Virginia went into penalty kicks. It became very clear at the start of the match that Syracuse was not going to let that happen again. Four minutes in, the Orange nearly got on the scoreboard.
Orange midfielder Giona Leibold sent a ball to forward Levonte Johnson at the top of the box, which drew Clemson goalkeeper Joseph Andema out of the net. Johnson tried to get a pass to forward Nathan Opoku for an easy shot, but Andema was able to get enough of his hand on it to break up the Syracuse opportunity.
The Tigers soon got themselves a chance seven minutes later. After Syracuse midfielder Amferny Sinclair lost the ball to Clemson’s Ousmane Sylla, Sinclair tracked him down and tackled him in an attempt to win the ball back.
The challenge was a little too physical for the referee’s liking, who awarded Sinclair with a yellow card and Clemson with a free kick at the top of the Syracuse box. Clemson’s Hamady Diop took the free kick, but couldn’t bend his shot past the wall of Orange defenders, blocking the kick.
In the 20th minute, Syracuse’s offense finally turned all their chances into a goal. Midfielder Lorenzo Boselli, who scored a clutch goal against Virginia to send the game to overtime, delivered yet again as he cut inside the Clemson box and put the ball into the back of the net to give Syracuse a 1-0 lead.
But the Orange were not done yet.
In the 39th minute, Syracuse midfielder Curt Calov started a counterattack after the ball was deflected to him following a Clemson set piece. Calov streaked down the left side of the pitch while Leibold raced down the right side. Calov sent the ball to Leibold who then launched the ball past Andema to give Syracuse a two goal lead.
The half soon came to an end with Syracuse in firm control of the game.
As the second half got underway, Clemson immediately went on the attack to try and get back into the game.
Skinner launched a shot to the right corner of the net, but Shealy was more than up to the task as he stopped the ball with a diving save. Clemson forward Mohamed Seye was left standing in the box in disbelief.
Seye was right in front of the net as Skinner tried to take the shot. If Skinner had made the extra pass, Clemson might’ve cut the deficit down to one goal with plenty of time left in the match.
Clemson continued to try and put something on the board, but to no avail. They weren’t able to produce many scoring chances in the second half, but their last good opportunity came with 10 minutes remaining.
Defender Enrique Montana III launched a cross deep into the box which found Skinner, but Skinner once again was unable to get his shot past Shealy, who easily caught the weakly hit ball.
The clock soon began to run out for the Tigers and as the whistle sounded to end the game, the Syracuse bench rushed out to celebrate with their teammates. It was similar to the end of last week’s game against Virginia, but this time the Orange gathered together in a circle as they hoisted up the ACC Championship trophy.
Next on the schedule for the Orange is the NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament. With the win against Clemson, Syracuse will automatically receive a spot in the bracket. The Orange will learn the results of the draw on Monday, but for now they’ll be celebrating a well deserved win and an incredible ACC tournament run.