ATLANTA - Freshman Asgeir Kristjansson tallied his first collegiate goal with just 29 seconds left in regulation to lift Georgia Southern men's soccer to a 2-1 Sun Belt Conference victory over Georgia State on Saturday evening at the GSU Soccer Complex in Atlanta.
The win also earns the Eagles (6-5-1, 1-0 SBC) a point in the Southern vs. State Rivalry Series, the first point to be awarded in the 2019-20 edition. The victory is also the first for Georgia Southern over the Panthers (6-2-3, 0-1 SBC) since a 3-1 win on October 8, 2016, in Atlanta and avenges a loss suffered just last season in the Sun Belt Tournament championship match in Statesboro.
Georgia Southern started off the match by getting the first five shots against the Panthers, but Georgia State would get the next five to seemingly wrest momentum from the Eagles. in the 37th minute of the first half, however, junior PJ Amponsah put the Eagles in front with a rocket shot from a tight angle on the right side of the box, beating 6'7" keeper Paul Tyson high for his first goal in a GS uniform. Adam Davie provided the assist as Georgia Southern would take that one-goal lead into halftime.
In the second half, Georgia State searched for the equalizer, getting a pair of shots off the post while forcing Eagle goalkeeper Jose Eduardo Bomfim into a pair of tough saves as well.
The Panthers would finally find the matching goal in the 86th minute as a cross by Alex Summerfield from the left side found Matthew Fearnley in the box, and Fearnley's shot from the right side found the back of the net, making it 1-1.
That set up the heroics for Kristjansson as the next shot by either team would turn out to be the last. The ball emerged out of a pocket of players at midfield onto the foot of Davie, who went forward and played Kristjansson into the right side of the box. His finish inside the far post came with just 29 seconds remaining, which was his first goal as an Eagle, and gave Georgia Southern the win.
"Anytime you can go on the road at this level and get a win, it's a good thing," Georgia Southern Head Men's Soccer Coach John Murphy said. "To do it in a conference match is better, and to do it against your top rival is the best. We've got to keep it in perspective, but we're all pretty pleased. We felt like we rode our luck a little bit, as Georgia State had a lot of chances. Jose Bomfim was magnificent in goal as he made some really important saves. It's also pleasing to have two guys score their first goals for us. PJ's goal was a real momentum breaker as it came after some good plays from them. Asgeir's a dangerous player, it's nice to see him get his reward as he's a dangerous player with a great deal of energy.
"We bunkered a bit and defended in the second half," Murphy said. "We had chances on the break, but Georgia State is a good team. When they scored the equalizer, our heads didn't drop, similar to the South Carolina game. They still had enough in the tank to get over the finish line in 90 minutes instead of letting it go to overtime. I'm pleased and proud of the effort and I hope we will be able to use it as a springboard to grow as a team."
Georgia State finished the evening with a 17-15 edge in shots. Bomfim made fives saves for the Eagles, while Tyson made three saves for the Panthers. Georgia State had a 6-4 edge in corner kicks and the Panthers were whistled for seven fouls and three offsides, with the Eagles committing six fouls and one offsides.