NEW YORK - The Columbia men's soccer team played one of its most physical games of the season Saturday night, but fell on the wrong side of a 1-0 decision to Delaware.
The first half was a defensive battle with neither side creating much in terms of momentum. Kofi Agyapong had Columbia's first two good opportunities, forcing Delaware goalkeeper Jay Lupas to make a tough save on a shot in the 21st minute, and then having a strong blast two minutes later blocked.
Delaware struggled to find its offensive rhythm in the opening 45 minutes, as the Blue Hens went to the halftime intermission without a shot. A primary cause for the lack of rhythm for both teams could be attributed to the 20 fouls whistled in the first half.
The offense picked up in the second half of the contest. Kyle Culbertson provided a scoring opportunity for Columbia in the 50th minute that went just wide, while Delaware's Joe Dipre and Benjamin Asante each had header attempts miss the net.
The Blue Hens would finally break through for the game's lone goal in the 71st minute. Playing from a restart, Delaware's Kyle Nuel played a nice ball from 40 yards out that John Dineen was able to head into the top of goal.
Columbia had a pair of good chances off corner kicks in the 78th minute, as well as a header opportunity from Ifiok Akpandak in the closing seconds to tie the game, but the Lions were unable to put the equalizer on the board.
In total, 35 fouls were called, 18 on Columbia and 17 for Delaware. Columbia out-shot the Blue Hens, 12-5, but Lupas came up with three saves on the night preserve the shutout for Delaware.
Columbia will be off for the week, next taking the field against Long Island in Brooklyn, N.Y. Saturday, Sept. 22.