Jeff Farina’s late goal lifts Irish to upset over Tigers on road
Observer Sports Staff | Monday, October 9, 2017
Looking for a signature win in a top-10 matchup against No. 5 Clemson on Friday night, No. 9 Notre Dame found it, topping the Tigers 2-1 on the road at Historic Riggs Field.
Senior forwards Jon Gallagher and Jeff Farina scored for the Irish (8-2-1, 3-1-1 ACC), who stunned Clemson (8-3-0, 2-3-0 ACC) with a goal in the 89th minute to claim the victory. With the win, Notre Dame improved to 3-0-1 against Clemson since joining the ACC five years ago, starting in 2013 when the Irish visited Clemson and bested another tough Tigers squad by a score of 2-1 in overtime.
Friday’s game saw much of the same. In front of its home crowd, Clemson came out strong in the first few minutes of play. However, a midfield giveaway in the fifth minute by the Tigers led to a breakaway for Farina and a bona fide opportunity for Notre Dame, but the senior forward’s shot was denied by junior Clemson goalkeeper Ximo Miralles. The Irish almost scored again in the 23rd minute, when Gallagher dribbled around Miralles down the left wing and flicked the ball on goal, but a sliding Clemson defender safely cleared the would-be-goal.
The rest of the first half was all Clemson, as the Tigers were consistently dangerous on offense around Notre Dame’s goal. In the 38th minute, Clemson senior midfielder Oliver Shannon powered a shot that fizzed in towards the net, but was punched away by Notre Dame captain and graduate student goalkeeper Chris Hubbard to keep the game scoreless heading into halftime.
The Irish started the second half as well as they could have hoped, as a give-and-go between senior midfielder Blake Towns and Farina gave Towns a free run down the right wing. After making the goalkeeper commit to him, Towns threaded a pass to a streaking Gallagher in the middle, who slotted the ball home to give the Irish a 1-0 lead at 46:50 — his eighth goal of the season.
However, Clemson responded quickly with a goal of their own in 50th minute, as freshman midfielder Alexander Hemmingsen punched the ball in during a scrum in front the Notre Dame goal to level the score at one apiece.
Throughout the rest of the half, it was Clemson who generated most of the genuine scoring opportunities. Hubbard came up with several big saves, however, and withstood the opponent’s offensive pressure all night, as Clemson outshot Notre Dame 19-8 over the course the game while holding a slight 5-4 margin over the Irish in shots on goal.
Just when things appeared destined for overtime, junior Irish defender Felicien Dumas won a free kick deep in Clemson territory. From an angle too steep on the left wing to try for goal, Gallagher instead chipped a cross into the middle of the box and it found the head of fellow senior Farina, who smashed it into the back of the net to give the Irish their winning goal at 88:02.
Notre Dame returns to action for a nonconference showdown with rival Michigan on Tuesday night inside Alumni Stadium. The Irish and Wolverines will kick off at 7 p.m. on ACC Network Extra.