The No. 3 Pitt men’s soccer team opened the 2021 season on Thursday night with a City Game matchup against Duquesne, and the Panthers lived up to their billing as one of the top teams in the nation, dominating the Dukes 7-0 at Ambrose Urbanic Field.
Bertin Jacquesson opened up the scoring in the 17th minute, after Valentin Noel charged toward Duquesne goalkeeper Domenic Nascimben and tapped the ball to his left, where Jacquesson was waiting to drive it into the back of an open net.
In the 23rd minute, Veljko Petkovic would put Pitt up 2-0, as he tapped in a loose ball that landed at his feet after Nascimben fended off a Luke Mort header. And just over a minute later, Mort would create another scoring chance, as he sent a cross into the box that Petkovic headed in to give Pitt a 3-0 advantage.
Pitt would maintain its three-goal lead at the half, and the Panthers would waste no time getting back to work in the final frame. In fact, the team's fourth goal of the night came less than four minutes after the start of the second half, when Petkovic found Arturo Ordoñez with a corner kick, and Ordoñez headed it in.
Seven minutes later, Valentin Noel would add to Pitt’s lead, scoring on a give and go with the help of Petkovic. Noel shed two defenders with his quick pass to Petkovic, and when Petkovic found him seconds later, he was completely unguarded. Noel would then tap a low shot through the five hole of Nascimben to put the Panthers up 5-0 on the Dukes.
Pitt’s sixth goal of the night came courtesy of Sito Sena in the 61st minute. Sena corralled a corner kick that was headed into the air by Duquesne defender Jack Emanuel, and after faking out Duquesne forward Zach Mowka with a move to his left, Sena sent a well-placed shot into the back of the net to secure a 6-0 lead.
With Pitt’s bench players in the game and just a few minutes left on the clock, it seemed for a while that Sena’s goal would serve as the night’s finale. But after some chippy play in the Duquesne box, Pitt was awarded a penalty kick, and Jay Vidovich put Rodrigo Almeida on the line for the kick. Almeida would bury the shot to put Pitt up 7-0, giving the team its first seven-goal game since Sept. 26, 2017.
Pitt's seven goals would go unanswered by Duquesne, leaving the final score at 7-0 and giving the Panthers their first win of the season. With the win, Pitt improved to 1-0 and earned its 11th straight victory at Ambrose Urbanic Field. In its next match, the team will look to take down another rival, when it heads down to Morgantown to face West Virginia. That game will kick off from Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium at 7 p.m. ET on Monday.