AKRON, Ohio – In a wild and crazy Mid-American Conference men's soccer showdown, a golden goal by redshirt junior Ezana Kahsay (Asmeras, Eritrea) in the 91st minute (90:26) lifted 13th-ranked Akron (10-3-1, 2-1-0 MAC) to a 2-1 overtime triumph past Bowling Green (6-7-1, 0-2-1 MAC) on Saturday, Oct. 21, at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.
The contest featured a wild finish as the final three minutes of play, including overtime, were highlighted by a goal for each side along with a trio of cards being issued, including a pair of red cards against the Falcons.
Kahsay netted the game-winning tally only 26 seconds into overtime off a pair of strong passes into the box from seniors Sam Gainford (Liverpool, England) and Nate Shultz (Mayfield, Ohio). The goal was the second of the season for Kahsay and marked the third game-winning effort of his career.
Bowling Green played the final 2:24 of regulation and overtime two men down after the Falcons were whistled for a pair of red cards resulting from a hard foul near the top of the box on freshman Joao Moutinho (Lisbon, Portugal) in the 88th minute (87:36).
Despite playing a pair of men down, the Falcons garnered the equalizer at the 88:05 mark when a defensive miscue allowed Charlie Maciejwski to collect his second goal of the season off an assist from Alexis Souahy.
The Zips finished the evening registering a 21-7 advantage in shots, including an 11-2 edge on shots on goal.
Moutinho directed Akron's offensive attack with a game-high six shots, while contributing four shots apiece in reserve action was sophomore Nick Hinds (Plantation, Fla.) and Gainford. Bowling Green was led by three strikes from Ebenezer Ackon.
Falcons' goalkeeper Anthony Mwembia was impressive in net for Bowling Green pulling in a game-high eight saves, including five in the second half. Redshirt freshman Tor Saunders (Seattle, Wash.) made one stop in net for the Zips.
The first half proved to be a defensive battle as neither side was able to find the back of the net, despite Akron owning an 8-3 margin in shots.
Redshirt junior Joe Korb (Willowick, Ohio) nearly gave the Zips an early 1-0 lead in the 28th minute (27:38) as only a clearance off the line by Ackon for a team save prevented the shot from finding the back of the net.
Hinds added a strong scoring chance on a header at the 37:34 mark that was denied by a save from Mwembia.
The Zips came out attacking to open the second half as Akron recorded six of the first seven shots on the stanza, including a trio of shots on frame by Gainford, all of which were thwarted by Mwembia saves.
With nearly 18 minutes left on the second-half clock, Gainford struck a ball in from the corner that narrowly missed the diving foot of senior Stuart Holthusen (Auckland, New Zealand) inside the three-yard box.
The Zips finally capitalized on opportunity in the 78th minute (77:37), when a pair of quick and compact passes from senior Manuel Cordeiro (Porto, Portugal) and Gainford resulted in the fourth goal of the season for Hinds, a strike from the middle of the box which found the corner of the net.
Akron benefitted from another strong performance in the contest from its defensive line of Moutinho, Shultz, senior Niko De Vera (Camas, Wash.) and freshman Daniel Strachan (Lakewood, Ohio).
Akron returns to action on Tuesday, Oct. 24, with the Zips stepping out of conference for a showdown at No. 17 Pittsburgh. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.