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PISCATAWAY, N.J. – A penalty kick by Reinaldo Brenes in the 105th minute lifted the No. 5 University of Akron men's soccer team to a come-from-behind, 2-1 victory in double overtime at Rutgers on Sunday at Yurcak Field.
Just five minutes into the second overtime period, Matt Foldesy split a pair of Scarlet Knight defenders with a great through ball that found Saad Abdul-Salaam, who was tackled from behind before he could get a shot off.
It was a remarkably similar situation to Friday night's double-overtime defeat at No. 23 St. John's. Only this time, a foul was called when Abdul-Salaam went down and Brenes made Rutgers pay with his second game-winner in three matches.
UA (3-1-0) had to play from behind for the first time this season when Rutgers' Kene Eze headed a cross from the left side of the field into the right corner of the net in the 54th minute.
The Zips nearly got it right back, however, when a long pass from beyond midfield sprung Brenes, who found himself all alone with the keeper from the near right flank, but his liner bounced across the goal and banged off the far post and out.
With the clock running out on the Zips, Ismail Seremba, who entered the match after RU's goal, then found the equalizer in the 85th minute. The true freshman from London, England, took a quick pass from Eric Stevenson and buried it into the left corner of the net from the top of the box.
Seremba has been a big factor in each of the Zips' last three matches – all as a reserve. He assisted on the game-winning goal against Furman last weekend and aided in another score Friday night at St. John's prior to today's heroics.
From the 87th minute on, Rutgers (1-2-1) was forced to play a man down. Drew Morgan received a red card after tackling Brenes on a breakaway. Morgan was yellow carded in the eighth minute.
After a slow first half, the Zips responded quickly after Rutgers' goal and outshot the Scarlet Knights 28-8 for the match, while earning a 15-3 advantage in corner kicks.
Seremba was one of a handful of reserves that provided a big boost Sunday. Adam Najem, who had five shots (three on frame), Louis Cross and Brett Gravatt each played meaningful minutes off the bench.
After opening the first four matches on the road, the Zips will return to FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field next weekend for the annual University of Akron Tournament. UA will host VCU on Friday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m. ET and San Diego State on Sunday, Sept. 15, at 1 p.m. ET.
Zips Notebook: The Zips improved to 6-0-1 following a loss during the regular season since 2008 ... Akron, which has lost just 13 contests in the past seven seasons, has not been beaten in consecutive matches since 2007.