22.08.2010 20:14
Team

Rapid 2 – 0 Mattersburg: Hütteldorfers record important victory

Sunday afternoon saw Pacult's men in a return to Bundesliga action following the nerve jangling draw with Aston Villa. Rapid were looking to build on recent good domestic form and really ignite their push up the league ladder. Yasin Pehlivan came back into the starting line up at the expense of Thomas Hinum in the only change to Thursday's line up. Youngster Nuhiu retained his place in the line up following his goal scoring exploits on Thursday. Mattersburg came into the game pointless having lost every game so far in the domestic calender. The Burgenland side would need to show a big improvement to harbour any hope of leaving the Hanappi with a point.Rapid got proceedings underway in the sun drenched Hanappi, kicking towards the block west in the first half. The first attempt on goal arrived in the 6th minute as adventurous full back Tanju Kayhan tried his luck from long range. Bliem in the Mattersburg goal got his body well behind the shot and gathered it in comfortably. The home crowd didn't have to wait long for the opener however, as Sonnleitner rose at the back post to connect with a Steffen Hofmann free kick. The centre back guided an unstoppable header back accross goal and into the top corner to hand Rapid a 13th minute lead. It was the new boy's first strike for the Viennese since his summer switch from Sturm Graz.Following the opener further goalmouth incidents were at a premium. Mattersburg were being restricted to long range efforts and free kicks, while the story was similiar for Rapid. Kayhan however was offering a constant outlet down the right flank. The young full back's understanding with Hofmann has really started to bloom in recent weeks.The next chance for the Green Whites arrived on 32 minutes. Hamdi Salihi rose to connect with a Hofmann free kick about 12 yards from goal. The Albanian had found space and may feel he could have done better as his attempt cleared the bar by a good margin. The next chance again fell to Salihi. This time it was a Kayhan cross, the Rapid striker attempted an acrobactic scissor kick, unfortunately it screwed wide of the target.After being dragged down in his own half, Kavlak rose and played a quick free kick into Steffen Hofmann in the 42nd minute, the Rapid skipper into turn split the Mattersburg defence with an excellent pass to Nuhiu. The tall frontman attempted to square the ball to Salihi as he was baring down on goal, the would be pass carried to much weight though and the danger passed.A Steffen Hofmann free kick from the edge of the box that just missed, and a Katzer header from a corner signalled the end to the first half chances. Rapid had looked exceptionally comfortable with their one goal lead, although more thrust and a further few goals to make sure certainly wouldn't go amiss in the second half.A sleepy start to the second half from Rapid was nearly punished after just two minutes. Doleschal unleashed a ferocious effort from 25 yards that cannoned back of Hedl's right hand upright. It was a warning, if any was needed, that 1:0 is always a precarious lead.Hamdi Salihi was relieved to see the linesman flagging for offside in the 56th minute as he failed to convert a low cross from close range, the flagging official sparing his blushes. With the lack of a second goal, the visitors began to grow in confidence and were spending more time in and around the Hütteldorfer's box. The Green Whites manufactured a shooting opportunity for Yasin Pehlivan on 66 minutes. Good work from Kavlak saw him beat his marker and lay the ball off for the on rushing Pehlivan. The midfield enforcer connected sweetly with his first time shot, but the ball just rose too high and cleared the bar. A minute later Pacult brought on Dober for Kayhan in a straight swap. The latter appeared to pull up awkwardly after a forward surge.With just under 20 minutes to play, Salihi stole in behind the Mattersburg defence and latched onto a Sonnleitner lofted ball. Under pressure the striker fired just over from 15 yards.With 10 minutes to play Pacult brought on Saurer in place of the lively Kavlak. A great driving run from Pehlivan saw him nearly slice through the entire Mattersburg rear gaurd. His piercing run just failed to breach the very last line of defence and despite vociferous appeals for a free kick, the referee waived play on. Salihi passed up another presentable opportunity with a little over 6 minutes to play. The forward could only get a glancing contact on a cross from the left whilst in a promising position.The hitman was not to be denied though as his constant battling finally paid off in stoppage time. Nuhiu broke into the left hand side of the box and squared across the face of goal. The ball came to the lurking Hofmann who once more put the ball across and this time Salihi was on hand to kill of Mattersburg and get his name on the scoresheet.It was a somewhat laboured victory for Rapid, however after taking the lead the victory never really looked under threat. Attention now turns to thursday's crucial trip to Birmingham to face Aston Villa. Pacult's side will go into the game in high spirits, with news of a 6-0 thrashing for the Clarets at the hands of Newcastle unlikely to improve the mood around the managerless english club.5th round:SK Rapid - Mattersburg 2:0 (1:0)Hanappi-Stadion, 16.700, Referee Prammer Goals: 1:0 (13.) Sonnleitner, 2:0 (91.) Salihi SK Rapid: Hedl - Kayhan (67./Dober), Sonnleitner, Soma, Katzer - Hofmann, Heikkinen, Pehlivan, Kavlak (80./Saurer) - Nuhiu, Salihi (92./Gartler) Mattersburg: Bliem - Pauschenwein (75./Höller), Malic, Ilsanker (81./Bürger), Rath - Doleschal, Seidl, Schmidt, Salamon, Mörz - Waltner (46./Naumoski) Yellow Cards: Kayhan, Salihi Malic, Mörz, Höller, Schmidt(gw)