The Pitt men’s soccer team dug itself a deep hole in its homecoming matchup with Duke at Ambrose Urbanic Field on Friday night, as the team went down 3-0 less than 40 minutes into the game. But the Panthers managed to claw their way back over the last 53 minutes and came back to defeat the Blue Devils 4-3.
The first half of the matchup belonged to the Blue Devils, as Duke midfielder Max Moser put the visitors on the board in the 12th minute and Suniel Veerakone and Daniel Wright piled on in the 29th and 37th minutes to give their team a 3-0 advantage.
The Panthers got one back in the 41st minute, as Pitt forward Edward Kizza got a shot past Duke goalkeeper Will Pulisic, cousin of Chelsea star Christian Pulisic, to cut the lead down to 3-1. But the situation looked grim for Pitt heading into halftime with a two-goal deficit.
Pitt continued to chip away at the Duke lead in the second half, as Veljko Petkovic headed in a cross by Alexander Dexter to put the Panthers within a goal in the 56th minute. Seven minutes later, Pitt got an equalizer from an unlikely source as Jackson Walti dropped a long-distance shot into the right of the net for his first goal of the year.
In the 86th minute, Pitt midfielder Braden Kline sent a cross into the box that found Alexander Dexter, and Dexter got the best of two Duke defenders before banking a shot in off the inside of the crossbar to put the Panthers up 4-3. The Blue Devils would not respond in the final three minutes.
The pivotal win lifts Pitt’s record to 8-5-2 and 4-2-1 in conference. Meanwhile, Duke drops to 6-7-2 overall and 2-4-1 in the ACC. Pitt is still in contention for the top spot in the ACC Coastal but needs Virginia to drop a game to overtake the current division leader. As for the Panthers, they will look to end the regular season on a high note when they travel to Notre Dame to take on the Fighting Irish on Nov. 1. Kickoff from South Bend is set for 7 p.m. ET.