Kentucky defeats Louisville 3-1 for third win in a row


Kentucky Wildcats forward Eythor Bjorgolfsson (9) celebrates with Kentucky Wildcats forward Luke Andrews (19) after a Andrews’s goal during the University of Kentucky vs. Notre Dame men’s soccer game on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, at the Bell Soccer Complex in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 1-0. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Scott Clarke

No. 17 Kentucky men’s soccer returned to action on Tuesday night at Lynn Stadium, beating their in-state rival Louisville Cardinals 3-1.

The Cats entered the game on a two-match winning streak after beating Wright State, 3-0 and Notre Dame, 1-0.

The Cardinals started the match off strong, putting the pressure on the Wildcats and scoring the games’ first goal at the five minute mark, scored by freshman forward Aboubacar Camara.

It was the first goal Kentucky conceded this year.

For the next fifteen minutes, both teams had strong looking attacks that were ultimately stymied by the opposing defenses.

However, the Wildcats kept pressing, and in the 24th minute, fifth-year senior forward and former Cardinal himself Cameron Wheeler tied the score up 1-1 with a strike from just inside the box, his first of the year.

In the 29th minute, Louisville forward Ugo Achara had a shot at goal from right in front but was denied by a great save from UK goalkeeper Jan Hoffelner.

Both teams continued to have ample chances to score, playing at a feverish pace.

In the 43rd minute, UK was awarded a throw about 30 yards away from the Cardinals’ goal. Freshman defender Oliver Juul threw the ball into the box and was deflected by a UofL defender into the net for an own goal, giving the ‘Cats a 2-1 lead heading into halftime. 

After 45 minutes of play, the stats were nearly even, with Louisville having one more shot on goal than Kentucky.

Shortly after referee Carmen Serbio blew his whistle to signal the start of the second half, Louisville ramped up the pressure.

Multiple long balls were sent into UK’s box which required the Wildcat defense to be on their toes and clear their lines as quickly as they could. 

Between the 46th and 48th minute alone Louisville were awarded three corner kicks but were not able to capitalize on them.

In the 54th minute, a free kick from just outside the box by Louisville freshman midfielder Sander Roed grazed the crossbar, coming within inches of  tying the game.

Just three minutes later, Roed weaved through the UK defense, setting up his teammate Camara to even up the score. However, Camara missed wide, leaving the score at 2-1.

In the 65th minute, tempers flared when Camara and Hoffelner got into a spat, causing the referee to give both teams warnings.

After being on the defensive most of the second half, Kentucky sent a long ball into the Louisville box in the 81st minute which was finished off by UK’s leading goal scorer Eythor Bjorgolfsson, his third of the year, increasing the lead to 3-1.

It looked like it would be an easy path to victory after Bjorgolfsson’s goal. However, in the 88th minute, UK senior midfielder and team captain Marcel Meinzer was sent off with a straight red card, leaving the ‘Cats with 10 men for the final two minutes.

Just like earlier, the UK defense was quick to clear their lines and stop every Louisville attack in an instant.

The final whistle would blow, resulting in a 3-1 victory for Kentucky.

UK may have lost the possession battle, but their stout defense withheld attack after attack from UofL. Hofflener shook off the early goal and was a wall in net, turning away every shot he faced.

Kentucky will look to build off of Tuesday’s performance and attempt to win their fourth match in a row on Sunday, when they play at home against Duquesne. 

The match is set to kickoff at 7:30 p.m. E.T at The Bell and will be available to watch on ESPN+.