- Duke football returned in the dying moments of the second round of the NCAA tournament to beat UCLA 2-1.
- After the game-winning goal, things turned sour when a Blue Devil mocked the keeper and started getting shaken.
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UCLA men’s football did not handle their loss in the second round of the NCAA Men’s Football Tournament with grace. In fact, the Bruins did the exact opposite.
The game itself was an all-time classic, but it ended with an ugly scene.
Early in the first half, UCLA took advantage of a rare opening in defense, pushed into the box and scored the opening goal. The Bruins took the lead 1-0 and the score held until the 86th minute.
However, after an unsuccessful dominant pursuit, Duke finally broke through with around 3:30 hours left on the clock.
Midfielder Nick Pariano played a serve in the box and rookie Ruben Mesalles sent a weak shot in the direction of Bruin goalkeeper Nate Crockford. Crockford couldn’t hang on to the effort and gave his opponents a second chance. Blue Devil defender Lewis McGarvey settled the ball and Mesalles scored on the second opportunity.
39 seconds later, Duke midfielder Peter Stroud contained a pass from Pariano and shot the net from outside the box. The ball deflected on a UCLA defender, just past Crockford’s outstretched hands, and for a 2-1 lead.
And then things rushed.
After Stroud’s game-winning goal, Duke striker Thorleifur Ulfarsson had words for Crockford. Crockford didn’t like what Ulfarsson had to say and Ulfarsonn mocked Crockford for his failure to make the save.
Meanwhile, UCLA’s Pietro Grassi didn’t like Ulfarsson’s behavior. He came out of nowhere and pushed Ulfarsson to the ground, setting off a scuffle and winning an immediate red card.
The crowd, as enthusiastic as the Blue Devils on the pitch, did not sit down for the remainder of the game and met Ulfarsson with a resounding standing ovation as he was substituted in the dying minutes.
“It’s part of the sport and people are competitive,” Duke head coach John Kerr said of the incident. “That’s what you play for, because if you’re just blunt and have no emotion, you won’t get very far.”
No.7 Duke won 2-1 and advanced to the quarter-finals.