CLEMSON, S.C. — Behind Luis Felipe Fernandez-Salvador’s second-half brace, Clemson erupted for four goals in the period and shut out Florida International 4-0 at Historic Riggs Field on Tuesday night. Clemson came blitzing out of the halftime locker room and scored three goals in the first 11 minutes of the second frame to take command of the match.
The first half on the other hand went by with little action. The Panthers outshot the Tigers 7-4, but Clemson goalkeeper George Marks turned away any chance FIU had of grabbing the first goal.
Just 23 seconds into the second half, Fernandez-Salvador presented a threat to the Panther defense and was taken down in the box. He then handed the ball to Oskar Ågren, who calmly stepped to the spot and placed the ball beyond the outstretched arm of the Panthers keeper to give Clemson the advantage.
Then, just seven minutes later, a Tigers’ offensive rush saw Isaiah Reid catch up to a long-ball that was destined to go out for a throw-in. He kept the ball in play and found Elton Chifamba, who beautifully fed Fernandez-Salvador on the right side of the box, who played a marvelous chip over the FIU goalkeeper and stretched the lead to 2-0.
The barrage continued for the Clemson offense, as Mohamed Seye won a free kick in a dangerous spot three minutes later. Once again, Fernandez-Salvador took advantage, using his right foot to rip a missile that curled its way into the top-right corner of the net. The brilliant score gave the senior midfielder his first brace of the season and put the game out of FIU’s reach.
“He’s peaking at the right time,” said Head Coach Mike Noonan about Fernandez-Salvador. “He’s a quality player and there’s no doubt about it… right now he’s in form.”
For good measure, the Tigers would add one more goal in the 67th minute, this time as a result of a beautiful individual effort by Quinn McNeill. The senior midfielder dribbled at the defense before cutting inside and ripping a shot around the keeper into the net for his second goal of the season. Marks held on for the clean sheet, giving him his 19th career solo shutout, good for a tie for third on Clemson’s all-time leaderboard.
Up next, the Tigers finish off the regular season with Senior Day at home against Louisville on Friday night. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and the match will be broadcast on ACC Network.
Noonan said of Friday’s match that will determine the ACC’s Atlantic Division winner, “I’m excited… we’ve got a big game on Friday and we’re happy we’re at home.”