29.11.2015 20:45
Team

Rapid move within one point of Bundesliga summit with 3:1

Following Thursday night's exertions in Villarreal, domestic football was back on the menu. Vorarlberg side Altach were the opposition for the late Sunday evening kick-off in the capital, with Rapid looking to avenge a 2:0 defeat suffered earlier in the season and simultaneously move within one point of the Bundesliga summit. Injuries forced Zoran Barisic's hand somewhat with his starting line-up, with Jan Novota and Christopher Dibon having suffered injuries on European duty on Thursday. Richard Strebinger was the obvious replacement for Novota, whilst Max Hofmann came in at centre back. There were also starting berths for Stefan Nutz and Srdjan Grahovac.

With Altach sitting deep in their own half spaces were few and far between in the early phase of the game, as the match stuttered along in search of a real flow. However, an Altach attack that resulted in the ball landing at Richard Strebinger's feet provided the Hütteldorfers with a bit of space for the first time in the game which they ruthlessly took advantage of: after bobbling in midfield, Strebinger's clearance finally landed at the feet of the in-form Flo Kainz who drove deep into Altach territory, before laying the ball off to Philipp Schobesberger on the right hand edge of the penalty area. Schobesberger played the ball back to Kainz, by this point just inside the box in a central position; Kainz showed great vision in sliding the ball over to Stefan Stangl on the other side of the penalty spot, who stroked the ball home first time into the net with a crisp, low, right footed finish that any striker would have proud of - 1:0 and a superb goal on the counter (25.)!

Just minutes later Stangl again went close, but pulled an effort just wide of the target whilst well placed as Rapid looked to build on their lead. When the second goal did arrive, it came from what might be construed as an unlikely source: Srdjan Grahovac's deflected free-kick from around 18 meters wickedly deceived Altach keeper Lukse, leaving Grahovac to celebrate his first league goal in Rapid colours - 2:0 (37.). A Mario Pavelic cross-cum-shot nearly deceived Lukse and found its way into the net, but a very satisfactory half from a Green & White perspective ended with the Viennese two goals to the good.

 

Not long after the re-start the 16,000 plus crowd in the Ernst Happel Stadium were again on their feet celebrating a quality goal: after having suffered terrible luck with a spate of injuries, Stefan Nutz - in only his third appearance for the club - stood over a free kick just outside the box, slightly left of centre. The full-back stepped up and bent a wicked left footed shot round the wall and into the top corner giving Lukse absolutely no chance - 3:0 (52.)! It was a stunning free kick from Nutz, one that two goalkeepers wouldn't have been able to keep out, and hopefully provides a platform for him to really begin building his Rapid career. The third goal signalled a slight drop in intensity in the proceedings, with Rapid happy to take their foot off the gas following another busy week, and Altach sensing that even a point was beyond them. The visitors did grab a stylish consolation though, when Ngwat-Mahop got on the end of a cross to bury a powerful header from a fair way out - 3:1 (72.). The closing stages again belonged to Rapid, who nearly added a fourth through Kainz, but on this occasion Lukse came out on top (78.). Steffen Hofmann, Stefan Schwab and Matej Jelic came on for the closing minutes, the latter of which had two great chances to get himself on the scoreboard.

But the score remained 3:1 and Rapid clinically made use of slip ups on behalf of their title rivals to force their way right back into the centre of the action at the top of the Bundesliga table.

(gw)

 

tipico Bundesliga, 17th round:
SK Rapid - Altach 3:1 (2:0)
Ernst-Happel-Stadion, 16.400 Attendance, Ref Jäger

Goals: 1:0 Stangl (25.), 2:0 Grahovac (37.), 3:0 Nutz (52.), 3:1 Ngwat-Mahop (72.);

SK Rapid: Strebinger - Pavelic, Sonnleitner, M. Hofmann, Stangl - Petsos (75. Schwab), Grahovac - Schobesberger, Nutz (70. S. Hofmann), F. Kainz - Prosenik (84. Jelic);

Altach: Lukse - Salomon, Ortiz, Zech, Zwischenbrugger, Schreiner - Harrer (73. Roth), Prokopic, Hofbauer, Luxbacher (60. Ngwat-Mahop) - Aigner (60. Tajouri);

Yellow Cards: Kainz; Salomon, Ortiz

 

League Table

League table
Pl. Club Game Goals Pts
1. SK Sturm Graz 19 +16 44
2. FC RB Salzburg 20 +26 43
3. SK Rapid 20 +11 34
4. FC Flyeralarm Admira 20 +1 31
5. LASK 20 +2 27
6. SCR Altach 20 -4 25
7. FK Austria Wien 19 0 23
8. SV Mattersburg 20 -7 21
9. Wolfsberger AC 20 -13 16
10. SKN St. Pölten 20 -32 7