31.10.2015 17:14

Hard earned victory: 2:1 win over Sturm Graz

On Saturday Sturm Graz were the opposition as Rapid completed a home series of four games on the trot in ten days. Games against the well-supported Styrian side normally throw up plenty of emotion and drama, not to mention creating an intense atmosphere in the stands. On this particular occasion the Hütteldorfers got off to the perfect start against a somewhat subdued opponent, as their high energy pressing game paid dividends: a combination of Schobesberger and Steffen Hofmann dispossessed Piesinger who was daydreaming on the edge of his own box with the ball falling to Prosenik, who quickly returned possession to the Rapid skipper by way of a cute defence splitting pass. Hofmann did the rest, opening his body and curling the ball with his instep beyond Esser and into the far right corner - 1:0 (8.). A second Rapid goal nearly arrived just two minutes later, but despite his best efforts Philipp Schobesberger, fresh from scoring two in the 5:1 Cup victory over Austria Salzburg in midweek, couldn’t add the telling touch to a fine cross from Mario Pavelic (10.).  

Rapid continued to press and harry a worried and unconvincing looking Sturm back-line, and also continued to create the far better openings: a pinpoint lofted ball from Flo Kainz played Philipp Schobesberger free into the left hand side of the Sturm penalty area, where he looked up and rolled the ball back along the floor to Prosenik, who could've done better as he missed the target at the near post (20.). With Sturm manager Franko Foda attempting to rally his troops, the Graz side finally produced a noteworthy effort when Hadzic tried his luck from range, but the Sturm man was off balance as he struck the ball and the shot never looked like hitting the target (25.). Concrete chances failed to materialise in the remainder of the half meaning Rapid took their deserved one-goal lead into the break.



It took until only the opening minutes of the second half before Sturm left Rapid ruing their inability to turn their superiority into a more comfortable lead: after Dobras dispossessed Hofmann in Rapid territory the ball was fed to Schick, who took on and comfortably beat Auer, getting a dangerous low ball in across the goal mouth. Sturm captain Roman Kienast was lurking at the back post and tapped home unchallenged from close range to bring his side right back into the match - 1:1 (50.). Stefan Schwab tried to restore Rapid's lead with a quick repost, but his long range effort went just over (54.).  

The Hütteldorfers managed to recover from the shock of conceding a goal unexpectedly and somewhat out of the blue, and re-asserted their authority and began creating chances again. Flo Kainz drew a good save out of Graz goalie Esser at the near post, after weaving easily past marker ex-Rapid full back Kayhan (64.), before Esser then stopped a wicked long range strike from Thanos Petsos (67.). A slick move involving Hofmann, Schobesberger and Prosenik saw the ball fed into the path of the on-rushing Mario Pavelic, who unleashed a good, low, hard shot that Esser once again did well to turn round the post for a corner (68.). Rapid were turning up the pressure.

As the Rapid-Viertelstunde rolled round Zoran Barisic brought Matej Jelic into the action in place of Prosenik as the Hütteldorfer chief looked for a way to turn dominance into three points. Finally the pressure paid off: a corner from the left from Flo Kainz was angled in towards Mario Sonnleitner on the edge of the six-yard box; the centre back shrugged off the attentions of his marker, and helped the ball along its way, planting a superb header well beyond the reach of Esser, inside the right hand post - 2:1 and finally Rapid had their reward (78.)! The guests attempted to mount a response but whatever threat they managed to produce was easily snubbed out by a well-marshalled Green & White rear-guard. The final whistle duly went and confirmed a richly deserved win over a fellow club with aspirations of the top spots in the Bundesliga. Next up the boys hit the road for a string of away games - Plzen and Grödig before the international break, followed by trip to Mattersburg and the mouth-watering clash in Spain against Villarreal in the Europa League.



tipico Bundesliga, 14th round:
SK Rapid - Sturm Graz 2:1 (1:0)
Ernst-Happel-Stadion, 14.700 Attendance, Referee Drachta

Goals: 1:0 S. Hofmann (8.), 1:1 Kienast (50.), 2:1 Sonnleitner (78.);

SK Rapid: Novota - Pavelic, Sonnleitner, Dibon, Auer - Petsos, Schwab - Schobesberger (89./Alar), S. Hofmann (82./Grahovac), F. Kainz - Prosenik (78./Jelic);

Sturm Graz: Esser - Kayhan (81./Edomwonyi), Kamavuaka, Spendlhofer, Klem - Piesinger (61./Gruber), Hadzic - Schick, Offenbacher (81./Tadic), Dobras - Kienast;

Yellow Cards: Jelic; Piesinger, Spendlhofer;