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GAMEDAY REPORT: Uzo Leads Tulsa Fightback, Earns Black Gold Derby Victory

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 09/30/20, 10:29PM EDT

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Second-half substitute combined twice with Altamirano to lead hosts to 3-2 victory against Energy FC

TULSA, Okla. – Tobenna Uzo scored twice in the final 15 minutes to lift FC Tulsa to a 3-2 victory against OKC Energy FC on Wednesday night at ONEOK Field as the hosts claimed the Black Gold Derby series for the first time since 2017 and boosted their postseason hopes with a second consecutive late win.

After earning victory in second-half stoppage time in its last outing, Tulsa trailed its in-state rival by a goal as the game resumed after the second-half water break. It wouldn’t stay that way for long, however, as with 11 minutes to go, Ariel Martinez delivered a pass to the right flank for Cristhian Altamirano, who controlled and picked out a cross to the top of the six-yard area that Uzo headed on into the left corner of the net to level the score.

Then, with two minutes to go, the same combination connected to send ONEOK Field into celebration. Altamirano this time delivered from a more shallow angle in the right channel, but placed it perfectly for Uzo to fire a diving header from just inside the top of the penalty area inside the right post to give the hosts their first lead of the match.

Energy FC had one late chance to find an equalizer in the seventh minute of stoppage time when goalkeeper Cody Laurendi launched a long free kick forward into the Tulsa penalty area, but after the ball deflected the way of Energy FC’s Nicolas Taravel his shot flew wide of the right post, allowing the host to close out the win.

OKC had gotten out to an idea start when it took the lead in the 12th minute. Rafael Garcia launched a long ball forward over the top to allow Cordell Cato to use his speed, and the Trinidad & Tobago international rounded Tulsa goalkeeper Sean Lewis to the right and finished into the open net.

Tulsa hit back quickly, however, as Marlon provided the equalizer. After Matt Sheldon picked up possession on the left side from Lebo Moloto, the full back delivered a good back-post cross that allowed Marlon to head home from close range just inside the right post.

Marlon almost struck again just before halftime as he cut into the right side of the penalty area but saw his effort tipped into the near side-netting by Laurendi to keep the game even at the halftime break. Laurendi then came up with another big save six minutes into the second half as he got a hand to a lifted finish by Rodrigo Da Costa as he came off his line, sending the ball wide of the left post.

Energy FC regained the lead in the 57th minute, though, as Tucker Stephenson cut in from the left flank and fired a right-footed shot in off the right post from the top-left corner of the penalty area. Zach Hayden-Ellis almost added a third for the visitors four minutes later with a shot from the right side of the penalty area, but Lewis made a low save to turn the effort wide of the left post.

After grabbing a point late on in its last trip to ONEOK Field, though, this time Energy FC was unable to hold onto its lead, or its hold on the Black Gold Derby wrench, as Uzo’s late brace proved decisive for the hosts.

USLChampionship.com Man of the Match

Tobenna Uzo, FC Tulsa – Uzo came on with 13 minutes to go and made an immediate impact, scoring both late goals on his two shots for the game and keeping Tulsa in with a big chance at reaching the postseason.

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