FIU PK Rebound Knocks UK Out of C-USA Tournament
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Kentucky goalkeeper Callum Irving made a great save of Florida International’s Daniel Gonzalez’s penalty attempt, but the save bounced off the left upright across goal and Gonzalez hit it into a scrambling Irving and over the goal line to score what proved to be the winner in Friday’s Conference USA Tournament semifinal.
The goal came in the 21st minute after the referee judged an FIU runner to have been taken down just inside the box.
The Wildcats’ quest to find an equalizer suffered a major blow on 58 minutes when freshman Tanner Hummel was issued a straight red card after a late challenge inside FIU’s final third.
But the Wildcats did push on in attack despite playing a man down for more than 30 minutes, creating a few half chances in the closing quarter of an hour.
The Wildcats’ best chance came with 44 seconds remaining after Paul Sime was taken down just outside the box central.
Kristoffer Tollefsen hit a good left-footed curler that was tracking just a bit inside the left upper-90. FIU keeper Arthur Clapot did well to get a paw on it and force it out for a corner, which FIU cleared to kill the game.
UK finished the regular-season 12-4-2, and as C-USA regular-season champions having run through the regular portion of the league schedule 7-0-1. The Wildcats became the fourth team in league history to run through the regular league schedule unbeaten.
The Wildcats now await the NCAA Tournament selection show on Monday.
UK allowed one goal during the regular portion of the C-USA schedule, and Friday’s goal was just the second UK allowed against a C-USA team this year. UK has scored 29 and conceded 11 goals this year.
Kentucky went 10-2-1 in its last 13 matches.
UK entered Friday with the fifth-best statistical defense in the NCAA, and will conclude the regular season with a goals-against average of 0.58.
FIU improved to 11-6-1 (W-L-D) this season.
UK is 8-4-1 against FIU all-time.