SU men’s soccer earns comeback win over Pittsburgh

Men’s soccer earns comeback over Pitt Panthers

The Orange broke a three-match winless streak as the program honored last season’s national championship win.

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Syracuse senior midfielder Jeorgio Kocevski (8) shoots a corner kick at the game against the Pitt Panthers on Friday night at the SU Soccer Stadium.

Syracuse men’s soccer came away 3-2 winners over Pittsburgh in a game that produced high levels of entertainment on Friday night at the SU Soccer Stadium. Syracuse came into the match hoping to bounce back from their loss to Cornell on Tuesday and had to come back twice to secure the victory. 

After four combined goals in the first half, Syracuse’s senior midfielder Jeorgio Kocevski put the game-winner home in the 56th minute. A couple of Pittsburgh red cards later in the half made it easier for the Orange to see out the game. 

Friday’s triumph broke a three-match losing streak for the No. 7 Orange. Head coach Ian McIntyre mentioned that picking up maximum points was a reward for his team’s endeavors.  

“This was a hard-fought physical battle. And today, we fortunately got over the line. And three points in this league is massive,” McIntyre said. 

The win put the cherry on top of a night where the Syracuse faithful witnessed the celebration of the Orange’s National Championship win from last season. 

The game began with Pittsburgh taking control in the early stages of the encounter resulting in winger Abdoulaye Toure, breaking the deadlock after just five minutes to give the away side the lead.  

Syracuse pulled level seven minutes later, with senior midfielder Lorenzo Boselli slotting home his fifth goal of the season with a header into the roof of the net.  

Syracuse's Lorenzo Boselli steals the ball from Pittsburg as a senior midfielder.
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Syracuse’s Lorenzo Boselli (10) steals the ball from Pittsburgh.

McIntyre’s men were buoyed from drawing things level, dominating the following proceedings with their efficient high press.  

However, even with Syracuse’s aggressive style, Pittsburgh’s approach in playing out from the back was on full display, with the Panthers creating a goal scoring opportunity with a shot coming from Luis Sahmkov which was tipped over the bar by junior goalkeeper Jason Smith. Syracuse created openings for themselves, with senior midfielder Nate Edwards blazing a shot over the bar from close range.  

The Panthers re-took the lead shortly after with a goal from Luis Sahmkov scoring with a lovely, finessed shot via the post in the 28th minute. The momentum from Pittsburgh continued as they began to get a foothold on the game, missing opportunities to add to their lead. Syracuse broke on the counter, but the attack was broken up by Pittsburgh defender Mathys Lefebvre who saw red late in the first half.  

However, VAR intervened and rescinded the sending-off. The red card reversal didn’t affect the direct outcome before the halftime interval, as senior defender Gavin Wigg forced the ball over the line to send both teams level going into halftime.  

The second half began with Syracuse on the front foot. The Orange had three shots in quick succession, looking to take the lead for the first time in the game. The pendulum swung in the 56th minute after Kocevski slotted home an outside-the-foot finish following a pinpoint cross from sophomore forward Nicholas Kaloukian.  

Syracuse dominated the possession in the second half, manipulating the ball and creating half-chances that weren’t taken. Pittsburgh was reduced to 10 men after midfielder Michael Sullivan picked up a second yellow card midway through the second half. The game became even towards the end with both sides having their fair share of opportunities to change the scope of the match.  

Pittsburgh coach Jay Vidovich was giving his marching orders for dissent towards the match officials, and two minutes later, the Panthers went down to nine men after Raphael Cilli was sent off for violent conduct with three minutes to spare.  

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Syracuse’s sophomore forward launches the ball forward during the second half of the game against Pittsburgh.

With a two-man advantage in the dying embers of the game, Syracuse had possession and generated chances, not giving their visitors any chance to equalize. After the match, Syracuse head coach Ian McIntyre said his team had to be risky to come out on top.  

“We know to try to press them that we’re going to stretch ourselves at times, but the reward is if you can turn them over in those areas, you can get the play. On the other hand, try and reduce the space by playing a high line as well.”  

The Orange are on the road in their next fixture against No. 11 Duke, in a match-up where the Syracuse outfit is looking to gain all three points. Kick-off begins at 7 p.m. and it can be watched on ACC Network.