- Cleveland State knocked off Akron, 3-1, at Krenzler Field
- CSU's win over the 2018 national finalist was its first over the Zips since 2010
- Gabriel Pewu scored the final two goals for the Vikings
- Vlad Jandric scored CSU's opening goal and also added an assist
- Omeed Naeemy posted a season-high nine saves
- The Vikings improved to 5-1 at home this season
- Andrew Nicholas and Stjepan Mijic-Barisic also added assists in the win
- The match marked only the second time this season that Akron allowed three goals
The Cleveland State University men's soccer team put forth one of its most impressive performances of late as the Vikings took down perennial power Akron, 3-1, Tuesday evening in front a large and spirited crowd at Krenzler Field.
Despite falling behind by a goal, CSU never panicked and a committed effort for 90 minutes saw the Vikings knock off the 2018 national finalist going away.
Senior Gabriel Pewu remained in top form as he posted his second brace in the past four starts. Pewu extended his career-high goal total to nine for the season.
Head coach Sinisa Ubiparipovic, managing against his alma mater for the first time, made a pair of changes to his side from this past weekend as Jandric and classmate Thomas Bielanski were both reinserted into the midfield.
The guests provided some nervy moments early on as they took three corner kicks in the opening three minutes. The Zips took a shot that was blocked and another that was headed over the bar.
Akron took the lead just past the halfway point of the opening half. The Zips won the ball in the offensive half and quickly played it forward with a pair of passes. The initial shot on an angle was saved, but the rebound fell out in front and was blasted high into the net from about 12 yards.
The Vikings had a potential opportunity to respond right away as Pewu won the ball off the back line and drove into the box before he went to ground under the challenge of an Akron defender. However, the referee did not call a foul.
With the first half winding down, Cleveland State again took the ball off the Akron defense, and this time, it made the Zips pay. Nicholas won the ball and drove past a defender into the final third before laying the ball off to Jandric near the top of the box. Jandric turned the corner around a defender and drove at goal before slotting a low shot home.
Cleveland State had a number of good looks at goal in the opening 20 minutes of the second half.
The Vikings put the ball in the back of the net fewer than three minutes in, but the flag was up on Pewu after he appeared to have knocked in Karpeh's cross. About 15 minutes later, Pewu tried to one-time a cross from Karpeh as he was in alone on goal but was unable to direct it on frame.
Cleveland State would take the lead just past the hour mark, on a sequence that began with a corner kick. The corner kick found its way to the far post after a deflection. Sophomore Stjepan Mijic-Barisic gathered and blasted a tight-angle effort on frame that the keeper palmed away. However, Pewu beat everyone to the rebound and headed it in.
The Vikings were not content to sit back and defend their one-goal lead as they soon added an insurance tally.
Junior captain Thomas M'Barek won the ball in his defensive half to begin the sequence. He fed sophomore Jannis Schmidt, who then played it ahead to Jandric near midfield. Jandric drove forward before sending Pewu in alone on goal. Pewu circled the onrushing keeper, turned and gathered himself and blasted it into the vacant net.
Naeemy made saves in the 70th minute, off a free kick from about 22 yards straight on, and in the 77th minute, on a tighter angle effort from in closer.
Akron threatened to pull closer in the final minutes as a free kick from about 25 yards was directed toward the upper corner, but Naeemy made a great diving stop to push it wide and all but gurantee the win.
Pewu has six goals in his past five starts while Jandric scored for the second straight match. Nicholas now has three assists this season while Mijic-Barisic notched his first collegiate point Tuesday.
Cleveland State improved to 5-1 at home this season as it became only the second squad to score at least three goals against Akron this season.
CSU will travel for its road finale this Saturday, Nov. 2, against Horizon League leader UIC.