03.12.2016 18:40
tipico Bundesliga, Team

Dominant display puts Hütteldorfers back on victory course

After dropping to seventh place in the Bundesliga table midweek, Saturday's game against St. Pölten offered the opportunity of quick redemption. It was a chance that Damir Canadi's men grabbed with both hands: Rapid bossed their guests from Lower Austria throughout the duration of the 90 minutes in the Allianz Stadium with Arnor Traustason's goal sealing a much needed - and richly deserved - three points.

However claiming the three points against the newly promoted St. Pölton would be far from a given. A healthy crowd of 14,000 viewers turned up in freezing conditions to drive their team on to a much needed win. They would've found Rapid's positive brand of attacking football a warming comfort despite the wintery temperature. The Green & Whites went on the offensive from the get go, and attacked the deep sitting opposition from a variety of angles. Rapid's variable offensive football bore fruit and they began finding holes in St. Pölton's defensive wall: a header from Christopher Dibon found its way past the visiting keeper but a raised flag from the linesman cut celebrations short (17.). A powerful drive from range from the lively Joelinton then flashed inches wide of the target (22.), whilst the unmarked Giorgi Kvilitaia should have then put his side a goal up, but he missed the target with a presentable headed opportunity (30.). Joelinton then again found himself in the thick of the action, latching onto an under hit back pass before rounding keeper Vollnhofer only to lift his shot over the bar from a narrowing angle (36.). Rapid should have been ahead long before Joelinton again tested Vollnhofer on the stroke of half time, but somehow the plucky guests made it to the break with the deadlock still in tact (44.).

 

The hope at the start of the second period was that Rapid would cure their profligacy in front of goal and start capitalising on the chances their excellent football was producing. The Hüttledorfers thought they had taken the lead direct from kick-off when Joelinton sprung to head an excellent cross goal-wards. The Brazilian's header crashed into the underside of the bar, down onto the line, and then back into the field of play. Controversy reigned as it appeared the ball was in, but the referee and his assistants remained unmoved, deciding the whole ball hadn't crossed the line (47.).

Rapid continued to press, not letting their heads drop, and continued to manufacture goal scoring opportunities. Louis Schaub went close with a smart snap-shot (52.), before Vollnhofer pulled off an excellent save to deny Traustason (58.). The Hütteldorfers kept battering away on the St. Pölton door, determined to not let another three points slip through their fingers, but despite their best efforts disaster nearly struck: a swift counter by the guests resulted in Thürauer being in on goal, but the hitherto under-worked Richard Strebinger made himself as big as possible, got a strong hand onto the attackers effort, and tipped the ball over the crossbar (71.). With time ticking down the breakthrough that Rapid’s stylish performance had merited finally arrived: Louis Schaub picked out Traustason with a perfectly weighted ball, the Icelandic international kept his cool and calmly slotted home - 1:0 and the crucial breakthrough was there (79.)!

There was little further goal mouth action, meaning Rapid secured not only a massive three  points, but hopefully also a win that lifts the pressure that had been building on the club. The positive performance and the three points brought a tangible sense of relief and energy to the Allianz stadium, which will again be heavily populated by Rapid fans on Thursday when the Green & Whites welcome Spaniards Athletic Bilbao to Vienna as we sign off from the UEFA Europa League.

(gw)

 

tipico Bundesliga, 18th round:
SK Rapid - St. Pölten 1:0 (0:0)
Allianz Stadion, 14.200 Attendance, Ref Heiß

Goal: 1:0 Traustason (79.);

SK Rapid: Strebinger - Schösswendter (46./Grahovac), Sonnleitner, M.Hofmann - Thurnwald, Mocinic (71./Malicsek), Dibon, Schaub, Traustason - Kvilitaia (64./Jelic), Joelinton;

St. Pölten: Vollnhofer - Dober (73./Pirvulescu), Huber, Petrovic, Stec - Lumu (64./Thürauer) Ambichl, Perchtold, Holzmann - Keita (62./Segovia), Schütz;

Yellow Cards: Traustason; Ambichl, Dober, Schütz;

 

League Table

League table
Pl. Club Game Goals Pts
1. FC RB Salzburg 15 +23 34
2. SK Sturm Graz 15 +8 32
3. SK Rapid 15 +8 29
4. FC Flyeralarm Admira 15 +2 22
5. LASK 15 +1 20
6. FK Austria Wien 15 +1 19
7. SCR Altach 15 -6 16
8. Wolfsberger AC 15 -6 14
9. SV Mattersburg 15 -8 14
10. SKN St. Pölten 15 -23 4