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Oct 13, 2020

Clemson Defeats No. 1 Wake Forest 2-1 Behind Brilliant Team Effort

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 ninth win over a 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.

“It was a complete team game and win,” said Noonan. “Clemson nation should be very proud of that. That was a very good Wake Forest team, my hats off to them because they provided great opposition.”

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.

“The fans and the people who came here made it feel like a full stadium. We have to give them credit and hope they come back on Friday,” reflected Noonan.

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.

Clemson will be back in action on Friday, Oct. 16 against the Duke Blue Devils at Historic Riggs Field. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. For all of the most up-to-date information regarding Clemson men’s soccer, be sure to follow @ClemsonMSoccer on Twitter and reference