31.08.2015
Team

It was a much changed line up the took to the field, as coach Peter Pacult sprang a couple of suprises. Jürgen Patocka came into central defence for his first appearance since the third of October, with Mario Sonnleitner switching to right back. Stefan Kulovits came into central midfield at the expense of Yasin Pehlivan, while Christopher Drazan, Christopher Trimmel and Christoph Saurer formed an attacking midfiled three behind lone striker Rene Gartler. The Rapid players found themselves greeted to the pitch by a sea of scarfs, reminiscent of great scene's from top clubs in the 80's. To underline the Block West's credentials as the twelth man, they unleashed a feast for the eyes in the twelth minute a sea of green and silver swept across the blocks C and D in the sold out Ernst Happel Stadium as did a banner stating simply "SK Rapid Vienna 1899". Top stuff. The game got underway in a very tenuous and mistake riddled manner, owing to the extremely snowy, difficult circumstances underfoot. Lots of passes were holding up in the snow as both teams struggled to find their range of passing in the difficult conditions. The Viennese got to grips with the weather earlier than their opponents, utilising the effective wing play of Christopher Drazan. It was a ball from the left that created the first opportunity of the game, Rene Gartler dived to meet the cross with a powerful header that Helton in the Porto goal did well to turn round the post. Despite the snow, Porto were perservering with their technichal, short range passing game and were the next to test a keeper. In a similiar attempt to Gartler, Falcao got to a cross first in the 25th minute, Raimund Hedl did well to claw the downward header past his lefthand upright. As the temperature dropped below zero in the frozen Happel stadium, Christopher Trimmel sent it soaring in the stands as he handed Rapid the lead, capatilising on a goalkeeping error from a cross in near blizzard conditions. The lead was only to last 3 minutes though, Falcao capatilised on a Soma misjudgement to beat Hedl from close range, ensuring the game was all square as the players headed for the sanctuary of the half time dressing room. The teams emerged for the second half just as the snow began to ease up, Rapid with the same 11 that started the game. Just after the hour mark, Hamdi Salihi - in great form in the Bundesliga - came into the fray, replacing Drazan as Rapid went for 2 out and out strikers in the final third. A Saurer free kick found it's way to Gartler in the 57th minute and represented the first opportunity of a lacklustre second half. As time ticked away it appeared that both teams had settled for a draw, but the portuguese stung Rapid with a late, late show to run out victors. Colombian striker Falcao scored 86th and 88th minute goals to seal his hattrick and the three points for Porto. Along with Moutinho and Hulk he had put in a very good shift for the team from Portugal, who incidently looked a very good outfit and will have designs on going very far in the competition indeed. As for Rapid, the Green Whites now travel to Istanbul to face Besiktas with only pride to play for. This Sunday they get back to the bread and butter of Bundesliga football and look forward to the visit of table toppers SV Ried to the Hanappi.UEFA Europa-League, Group L:SK Rapid - FC Porto 1:3 (1:1)Ernst-Happel-Stadion, 47.600 Zuschauer, SR Stavrev (MKD)Goals: 1:0 Trimmel (39.), 1:1 Falcao (42.), 1:2 Falcao (86.), 1:3 Falcao (88.)SK Rapid: Hedl - Sonnleitner, Soma, Patocka, Kayhan - Trimmel (83./Dober), Heikkinen, Saurer, Kulovits, Drazan (63./Salihi) - Gartler (77./Nuhiu)FC Porto: Helton - Sapunaru, Otamendi, Rolando, Fucile - Ruben Micael (71./Belluschi), Fernando (16./Guarin), Joao Moutinho - Hulk, Falcao, Varela (46./Ukra)Yellow Cards: Drazan, Patocka  (gw)