COLUMBIA, S.C. - The No. 25 UAB men's soccer team scored three goals in the last eight minutes, including two in the final five minutes by senior Mladen Lemez, to recorded a dramatic 4-3 road win at South Carolina on Wednesday night in Conference USA action.
With the victory, the Blazers improve to 7-3-2 on the year and 2-1 in conference play. UAB is riding quite a hot streak heading into a three-game homestand, sporting a 5-1-1 record over its last seven matches.
The Blazers looked as if they were headed for a second defeat in league play, when the Gamecocks scored at the 75:42 mark to take a 3-1 lead with just under 15 minutes remaining. But that's when the real excitement began.
Redshirt freshman Karl Chester began the comeback when he scored at the 82:35 mark to cut the South Carolina lead to 3-2. Chester's second goal of the season was set up when senior forward Kofi Gyawu took the ball down the side and crossed it to freshman Ian Svantesson. Svantesson then then one-touched a pass to Chester, who deposited it into the back of the net.
Chester also set up the game-tying goal when he beat his defender and was taken down in the 18-yard box to draw a penalty kick. Lemez converted the PK at the 85:38 mark to even things at 3-3.
The Blazers continued to push forward and their work paid off with only 15 ticks remaining in regulation (89:45). The scoring play began when Fatai Alabi launched a throw-in from the left side of the field, which Lemez ran under and flicked past the USC goalkeeper and into the back of the net, sending UAB into a wild celebration.
"We always talk to our team about playing the full 90 minutes," UAB head coach Mike Getman said. "Tonight, it took all 90 minutes but we found a way. I am proud of the way our guys fought back and played hard all the way until the end.
"This was just one of those game," Getman continued. "Sometimes you don't always play your best and things go against you. But good teams find a way to win and that's what our guys did tonight."
The game began with a bang as South Carolina took a 1-0 lead just 1:44 into the match on a goal by Snoopy Davidson, who headed in a corner kick for an early lead.
South Carolina would reclaim the lead in the 55th minute, when Jeffrey Torda put back a rebound to give his team a 2-1 lead. The score would remain that way until 76th minute when Braeden Troyer scored to extend the Gamecocks' lead to 3-1, setting the stage for UAB's late-game dramatics.
South Carolina owned a slight 14-13 edge in shots, but the Blazers had an 11-10 lead in corner kicks.
With his two goals on the night, Lemez, a central defender, leads the Blazers with five goals and two game-winning scores.
UAB will next begin a crucial three-game homestand against league competition on Saturday night against Kentucky. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. at West Campus Field.