Elijah Amo’s overtime goal in the 98th minute propelled the No. 10 University of Louisville men’s soccer team to a 2-1 road triumph against No. 1 Wake Forest in Wednesday night’s ACC Championship semifinal clash at Spry Stadium.
Amo received a pass from Tate Schmitt inside the box before firing a shot, which deflected off a Demon Deacons defender and bounced over goalkeeper Andreu Cases Munde for the clinching goal at the 97:58 mark. With the victory, the fourth-seeded Cardinals (10-4-3) will make their second appearance in five years in the title match of the ACC Championship where they will face No. 4 North Carolina on Sunday at noon ET at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. The ACC Championship finale will be televised on ESPNU.
The goal was the third of the season for Amo, including his second game-winner, while the assist was the team-leading seventh of the season for Schmitt. The winning goal was the third shot in a span of 70 seconds for Louisville, which used the aggressive finish to avenge its 2-1 overtime loss at Wake Forest (17-2-0) in the regular season finale on Oct. 26. Overall, it was the sixth time in the last nine meetings the teams have played into overtime. The result ended a seven-match losing skid for the Cardinals against the Demon Deacons, who also suffered their first home loss of the season.
Louisville opened the scoring in Wednesday’s match late in the first half on a rocket off the foot of freshman Haji Abdikadir. After maintaining control for much of the opening 45 minutes, the Cardinals gained a 1-0 lead in the 44th minute when Abdikadir’s perfect strike from 35 yards out found the upper right corner for his first collegiate goal.
Wake Forest answered with the equalizer early in the second half after Joey DeZart dribbled into space and scored inside lower right in the 52nd minute. The goal was the first career tally for DeZart, while Logan Gdula was credited with his fifth assist of the season.
The score remained even over the final 38 minutes of regulation despite multiple chances for each side. Sophomore goalkeeper Jake Gelnovatch turned away the only shot by the Demon Deacons in overtime before Louisville’s flurry of attempts concluded with the game-winning goal. Shots were even at 10-10 overall in the match, including three attempts on goal for each team.
The Cardinals will turn their attention to Sunday’s showdown with the Tar Heels, who advanced with a 2-1 win over No. 8 Duke in Wednesday’s other semifinal match. Louisville is 2-2-1 all-time against North Carolina, including a 0-0 draw at Lynn Stadium last season in the most recent meeting between the two programs. The Cardinals are returning to the title match of the ACC Championship for the first time since suffering a 2-1 double overtime loss to Clemson in 2014.