05.10.2015 10:27

Hütteldorfers retain top spot despite defeat to title rivals

Rapid rounded off another hectic week on Sunday by welcoming RB Salzburg to the capital in the eleventh round of matches in the tipico Bundesliga. Just three days after winning in Minsk 23,200 fans were in the Ernst Happel Stadium in the hope of seeing the Green & Whites build on their incredible recent successes. In the first half Rapid produced a stirring performance, deservedly taking the lead and dominating the game. However, after the guests' controversial equaliser the face of the game changed.

An attractive open game was in store for the healthy crowd on Sunday, as both sides looked to be positive and get on the front foot in this top of the table clash. The Hütteldorfers looked dangerous early on and could have taken the lead, but despite desperate attempts no Rapid player could apply the finishing touch to a tantalising low ball across the goal mouth from Flo Kainz (8.). Soriano looked to hit back for the Salzburg side, but found his equal in Jan Novota who got a strong hand to the Spaniards shot, guiding it to safety (12.). It seemed as if an early goal was in the offing, and so it proved: from a corner Stefan Stangl found space in the Red Bull penalty area, sent a firm header goal-wards, where the presence of Christopher Dibon seemed to distract Salzburg keeper Walke, allowing Stangl's header to nestle in the back of the net - 1:0 (18.)!


Controversial equaliser

After the goal Rapid remained well on top of proceedings, but the quality of the guests' side meant they continued to produce moments of danger: Novota was again called into action, this time to stop a fierce drive from Naby Keita from an acute angle (20.), before again showing his class in repelling a free kick from Soriano (26.). Rapid nearly added a second not long after, when a long diagonal free kick caught the Salzburg defence napping, as Stefan Auer got in behind Ulmer. With the full back's first touch just letting him down the ball sprang up, and Auer attempted to head it over the advancing Walke, who was grateful to just get a fingertip to it to keep his side only one goal adrift (27.). Just as it looked like Rapid would be taking a deserved lead back into the changing room with them for half time, Salzburg grabbed a controversial equaliser: a promising Rapid attack was ended when Keita clearly brought down Steffen Hofmann, the referee however declined to award the free kick. From there Red Bull broke quickly with the move culminating in a deflected shot from Minimino giving Novota no chance to react - 1:1 (43.).

Neither trainer made a change at half time, and the incredible pace of the game on display during the first half continued into the second, although clear goal scoring opportunities proved harder to come by for both sides. When a goal did arrive, it did so somewhat out of the blue. More importantly, it again fell to the visitors and contained a huge slice of luck: an off target long range effort from Schwegler took a wicked deflection off Dibon, and squirmed agonisingly beyond the reach of Novota and into the back of the net - 1:2 (65.). Zoran Barisic reacted with a double substitution, sending on Jelic and Huspek for Prosenik and Kainz in an effort to force an equaliser (70.).

In the closing stages Rapid kept pressing their opponents but couldn’t find a way through the organised defence. The experienced, and slightly cynical, guests used all the tricks in the book to continuously break the flow of the game and in this pursuit picked up three yellow cards for time wasting antics. It paid off for them, as they hung on to collect the three points and cut Rapid's lead at the top of the table. However, Rapid remain top of the league, and whilst concurrently topping their Europa group, there remains plenty to smile about in the Green half of Vienna. 



tipico Bundesliga, 11. round:
SK Rapid - RB Salzburg 1:2 (1:1)
Ernst-Happel-Stadion, 23.200 Attendance, Ref Ouschan

Goals: 1:0 Stangl (18.), 1:1 Minamino (43.), 1:2 Schwegler (64.);

SK Rapid: Novota - Auer, Sonnleitner, Dibon, Stangl - Grahovac, Schwab - Schobesberger, S. Hofmann (82./Alar), F. Kainz (71./Huspek) - Prosenik (70./Jelic);

RB Salzburg: Walke - Schwegler, Miranda, Caleta-Car, Ulmer - Minamino (83./Laimer), Schmitz, Keita, Berisha - Damari (60./Reyna), Soriano;

Yellow Cards: S. Hofmann, Auer, Jelic; Schwegler, Soriano, Reyna;