27.08.2010 11:39

Hofmann strike sees off Salzburg

Despite being early in the season, sundays Hanappi clash between heavyweights Rapid and Salzburg had an element of do or die about it, owing to both clubs indistinguished starts to the season. Rapid fielded an unfamiliar looking midfield with both Hinum and Saurer starting. Jelavic and Salihi were again paired in attack and would be looking to carry the threat to Salzburg.A determined looking Rapid side made a strong start to the game, Jelavic just failing to connect with Katzer's cross as early as the third minute. Katzer again made inroads down his flank just five minutes later. The full back beat his man and fed the ball into Salihi who, unfortunately, just ran out of space and poked his shot the wrong side of the near post. There was more good work from the Green whites just a minute later as Heikinnen overpowered Ulmer and chipped the ball into Hinum. The Rapid new boy displayed a deft touch to flick the ball first time into the patch of Jelavic who drove towards the box. The Croatian's pass lacked conviction however and was cut out long before it got to the lurking Salihi. On 15 minutes Kayhan combined well with Hofmann to play Hinum in behind the Salzburg reargaurd. The midfield man fizzed the ball across to Jelavic, his header lacking the necessary direction. The first sign of life from the visitors came on 19 minutes as a swift counter attack resulted in a corner. Salzburg slowly began to get more of a foothold in the game, with Wallner passing up two half chances. As the half wore on the early quality on display largely ceased to exist, with both midfields being more or less bypassed the more Salzburg imposed their style on the game, the most threatening moments coming from long throws and corners. On the stroke of half time Jelavic came close from a Hofmann corner before Sonnleitner almost put through his own net at the other end, the defender was relieved to see his attempted clearence angle over the bar. Rapid managed to regain the early momentum at the start of the second half and snatched the lead after 5 minutes of play. Salihi and Hofmann played a tidy 1–2 and got Salihi to the byline, behind the visitors defence. His cut back fell kindly to Christoph Saurer who finished with applomb from a few yards to bag his first goal for Rapid in font of the delerious Block West. Minutes later, Hofmann again combined with Salihi to fashion an excellent scoring chance for the striker. Clean through on goal, the Albanian marksman drew and excellent save from the Salzburg keeper, yet he may feel he could have done a bit better.With just under half an hour to play, Salzburg's direct brand of football paid off as their two newly introduced substitutes combined for the equaliser. A huge long throw from wide bounced of the back of the exceptionally tall Boghossian's head and fell kindly to Jantscher. The Salzburg man hit a crisp volley that Hedl got a decent touch on, but not enough to keep it out. Pacult brought on Gartler for the tiring Salihi and Dober for the hard working Kayan, as he looked to snatch the initiative going into the final stages. And it was the home side who fashioned the next chance, Hofmann playing in Garlter behind the very high Salzburg defence. The youngster hit a good shot, but it was gathered superbly by Tremmel. Just a minute later Hofmann had Tremmel worried again as his deep cross bounced of the top of the crossbar, although luckily for the visitors, behind for a goal kick. A moment of ambition for Salzburg nearly bore fruit with ten minutes to go, Zarate's low drive whistling just inches past Hedl's far post. It seemed as though the game was heading for a draw but Steffen Hofmann had other ideas. A penetrating run from Gartler saw him chip the ball forwards to his skipper. With the ball under control and about twelve yards out there was only going to be one outcome, the Rapid talisman picked his spot and angled the ball beyond the reach of keeper Tremmel and earn, what was on the overall balance of play, what was probably a justified win for Pacult's side.This excellent victory should be just the shot in the arm Rapid have been looking for. With new confidence, they now look to finish the job on tuesday night against Bulgarien oppositon Stara Sagora in their Europa League qualifier at the Hanappi. 3rd round:SK Rapid - RB Salzburg 2:1 (0:0)Vienna, Hanappi-Stadion, 17.500, Referee GanglGoals: 1:0 Saurer (49.), 1:1 Jantscher (62.), 2:1 Hofmann (93.)SK Rapid: Hedl - Kayhan (69./Dober), Sonnleitner, Patocka, Katzer - Hofmann, Heikkinen, Hinum, Saurer (76./Drazan) - Jelavic, Salihi (68./Gartler)RB Salzburg: Tremmel - Schwegler, Sekagya, Afolabi, Ulmer - Schiemer - Zarate, Mendes, Leitgeb, Svento (55./Jantscher) - Wallner (55./Boghossian)Yellow Cards: Katzer Tremmel, Schiemer(gw)