"We want to work to push further forward, no question about it", stated Rapid coach Peter Pacult prior to kick off. "In order to reduce the gap the three points are crucial", crucial indeed - a win against the table toppers would see Rapid sitting just 5 points off top spot in the Bundesliga. To the line up: the back four remained unchanged following the midweek loss to Porto, while Saurer and Kavlak came into the team down the flanks. Kulovits and Heikinnen were paired together in the midfield engine room, with Salihi coming in to partner Rene Gartler in attack. The travelling supporters from Upper Austria cheekily greeted their players with a banner stating "Winter pause table toppers". Perhaps slightly premature. The Rapid players were welcomed to the pitch with customary gusto and choreography from the West and East blocks respectively. Following the kick off, Ried got straight on the front foot, displaying the confidence to play football in a progressive manner one would expect to see from the table toppers. The Hütteldorfers found it difficult to get a foothold in the game initially, however the initial promise from the visitors subsided, and the game became bogged down in a midfield tussle. Salihi was the first Rapid player to test Hesl in the visiting goal, his effort dealt with comfortably by the capable keeper. Sonnleitner, Gartler and Kulovits all tried their luck in quick succession from the edge of the area, but to no avail. It took until the 38th minute before the deadlock was broken Jürgen Patocka rising highest to guide a header into the back of the net from a Kavlak free kick. It was the centre backs second goal of the campaign, and handed Rapid the lead going into half time. The teams emerged for the second half unchanged, and after only two second half minutes the first talking point took place. Hamdi Salihi rushed into the penalty area, his drive bought to a premature end as he was unceremoniously upended. Referee Gangl waived play on - a debatable decision at best. Mario Sonnleitner ensured the controversy was soon forgotten as he doubled the advantage with a header from a Saurer free kick. The 14.800 onlookers in the Hanappi could now breathe a little easier. Six minutes later substitute Atdhe Nuhiu, on for Hamdi Salihi, put the game beyond doubt. The big striker finished an excellent move after good interplay between Saurer and Gartler - 3:0 to Rapid and no way back now for Ried. Rapid kicked on, Rene Gartler came out second best whilst 1 on 1 with Ried keeper Hesl and thus passing up a great opprtunity for 4:0. It was a lonely half for Raimund Hedl, the outfit from Upper Austria struggled to fashion a noteworthy second half chance. Ried are still yet to taste a victory in Hütteldorf. In 27 matches the Winter Champions elect have yet to enjoy a solitary success. Rapid are now on a run and closing fast on the table toppers - just five points now separates the sides. Out of form Tyrol side FC Wacker visit the Hanappi next weekend. A victory for the Green Whites could be an ominous omen for the rest of the league indeed.Bundesliga, 18th Round:SK Rapid - SV Ried 3:0 (1:0)Hanappi-Stadion, 14.800, Referee GanglGoals: 1:0 Patocka (38.), 2:0 Sonnleitner (53.), 3:0 Nuhiu (59.)SK Rapid: Hedl - Sonnleitner, Soma, Patocka, Kayhan - Kavlak (77. Trimmel), Heikkinen, Kulovits (91. Dober), Saurer - Salihi (56. Nuhiu), GartlerSV Ried: Hesl - Stocklasa, Glasner, Riegler - Brenner, Mader, Schrammel - Nacho (83. Sammer), Carril, Royer (49. Hadzic) - Guillem (73. Hammerer)Yellow Cards: Heikkinen, Patocka Mader, Glasner, Carril, Brenner, Stocklasa  (gw)