Charlotte, N.C. - Behind two goals by Jennings Rex and another goal by Giuseppe Gentile, the Charlotte 49ers (15-3-3) defeated the UAB Blazers (10-8-3), 3-2, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Transamerica Field.
"It was an incredible game," Charlotte coach Kevin Langan said. "It was a valiant effort by our team today."
Rex gave the 49ers an early 1-0 lead when he knocked in a Tyler Gibson corner kick in the seventh minute for his tenth goal of the season.
Rex then gave the 49ers a 2-0 lead when he banged in a Donnie Smith corner kick in the 29th minute for his 11th goal of the season. Rex has now scored 24 goals in his career.
UAB answered when a shot by Kofi Gyawu banged off the cross bar and down toward the goal line. The ball accidentally hit Charlotte defender Biko Bradnock-Brennan in the arm creating a penalty kick for the Blazers. Mladen Lemez cut Charlotte's lead in half when he converted the penalty kick in the 50th minute.
Charlotte quickly answered when Owen Darby played a beautiful through ball toGentile near the top of the box on the right side. Gentile then blasted a shot into the lower left corner of the goal in the 52nd minute. Gentile's goal was his ninth of the season and the 19th of his career.
UAB cut Charlotte's lead down to 3-2 when Diego Navarrete put the ball in the back of the net off a Chase Wickham assist in the 85th minute.
Over the final five minutes of the game, UAB had two shots and two corner kicks but they were never able to get the equalizing goal.
Each team finished the game with 10 shots. Rex led the 49ers with five shots. Gentile recorded two shots.
Charlotte advances to the second round of the NCAA Tournament where they will face third-seed Georgetown on the road, Sunday, November 18 at 1 pm.
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