WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The third-ranked Clemson Tigers (5-2-1, 3-2-1 ACC) fell to the second-ranked Wake Forest Demon Deacons (6-1, 4-1 ACC) by a final score of 2-0 on Friday night at Spry Stadium. Clemson registered double-digit shots against Wake Forest, making it the eighth time this season that the Tigers have accomplished this feat.
“We are very disappointed in the result tonight,” said Head Coach Mike Noonan. “However, I thought the team ran the tank dry and we had some of our best moments late in the game. Now we need to rest and refocus for the ACC Tournament in two weeks.”
The first half saw Wake Forest control possession and pace of play early on before Noonan made a pair of tactical substitutions that abruptly shifted momentum in favor of the Tigers. However, the Demon Deacons struck first in the 40th minute by benefitting from a lucky bounce inside the six-yard box as the ball found the knee of a striding Nico Benalcazar and went into the net.
Coming out of the half, Clemson was the more assertive side and held the majority of possession during the opening 15 minutes of play, spending most of their time in Wake Forest’s defensive third. In the 64th minute, the Demon Deacons doubled their lead via a quick counter-attack opportunity that was finished by Wake Forest’s Calvin Harris.
Throughout the match, Clemson received quality minutes from Luis Felipe Fernandez-Salvador within the midfield, as the junior was instrumental in creating attacking opportunities from the center of the field as well as out along the touchlines.
“He is on a string of good matches,” said Noonan when asked about the play of Fernandez-Salvador. “He continues to gain confidence and has played exceptionally well on both sides of the ball.”
At the onset of the match, Dylan Sullivan and Isaiah Reid each made their first start of the season, with the nod for Sullivan serving as the sophomore’s first collegiate start. Callum Johnson earned his 35th collegiate start, while Charlie Asensio was named to his 45th starting eleven. Oskar Agren, a sophomore defender from Malmö, Sweden, made his 30th consecutive start at center back for the Tigers this evening. Agren has started every match of his collegiate career.
Clemson will now await to discover its seeding in the upcoming ACC Tournament, with play set to begin on Nov. 15 and run through Nov. 22. The ACC will continue to have regular season matches played through Nov. 7. The first two rounds of the ACC Tournament will be played on Nov. 15 (quarterfinals) and Nov. 18 (semifinals) at the conference’s four North Carolina schools. The championship match will be played at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., on Nov. 22.
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