Top-ranked Indiana’s efficiency on two set pieces proved to be the difference despite the visitors’ probing in attack as No. 21 Kentucky fell 2-0 at Armstrong Stadium on Wednesday.
IU scored in the 13th minute and doubled their advantage in the 73rd, with Kentucky looking the more likely side in between those two set-piece goals and then after going down by two until full time.
Indiana improved its 2017 record to Won 10, Lost 0, Drew 2, while Kentucky dropped to W7, L3, D2. The Hoosiers have kept clean sheets in seven games in a row.
“Give credit to (IU head coach) Todd (Yeagley) and his staff,” Kentucky head coach Johan Cedergren said. “It’s a good team, well-coached, tough to play and they’re having a good season. For us I thought we played really well at times.
“We created some chances. I thought it was a lot closer than a 2-0 score if you look at some of the stats maybe that backs us up a little bit … It’s a simple game in the end. You’ve gotta find a way to get the ball in the net in our attacking box, and you’ve gotta find a way to keep the ball out of the net in our defending box.”
IU’s Timmy Mehl opened the scoring on 13 minutes, breaking free in the box to knock home a Trevor Swartz set-piece delivery.
The Wildcats began to ask more questions of the nation’s top goals-against average defense, but could not find the back of the net.
Indiana goalkeeper Trey Muse did one better than Kentucky forward Mikkel Pedersen in a moment of brilliance as the first half concluded. Pedersen unleashed a streaking attempt from distance that appeared destined for the right upper-90, forcing Muse into a top quality, full-stretch diving save.
UK started the second half on the front foot and didn’t let off the gas pedal for the majority of the stanza, but it was IU that scored the match’s second goal, again on a set piece.
UK was unable to clear Spencer Glass’ corner kick, and eventually Rashad Ind Hyacenth pounced to double the hosts’ lead.
Perhaps Kentucky’s best chance of the game – and the Wildcats had plenty of them, outshooting Indiana 11-10, came with 10 minutes to play as Leon Jones headed a Pedersen corner on goal, but Muse made a last-ditch save to preserve the clean sheet.
“The two goals IU score, it’s just too simple,” Cedergren said. “It’s great to see us able to play with a team like IU … but then you end up losing against the No. 1 team in the country because you can’t defend your box on two occasions … We’ll look at it, go back to the drawing board and get ready for Marshall on Saturday.”
Kentucky now trails the all-time series 1-19-3 against Indiana.
UK is 1-11-1 all-time against IU in Bloomington.
The next one
Kentucky will return to Conference USA play on Saturday with an 11 a.m. kickoff at Marshall.
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