09.11.2015 10:48

Disappointing defeat in Grödig a sour end to an outstanding week

On the back of Thursday's heroics in the Czech Republic that secured safe passage through to the knock-out phase of the Europa League, Rapid got back down to the Bundesliga bread and butter on Sunday as they travelled westwards to take on Salzburg strugglers SV Grödig. The Hütteldorfer squad included Flo Kainz, no doubt still buoyed by his recent first call up to the Austrian national team. Spanish striker Tomi also had reason to celebrate, as he made his Green & White debut against his ex-employers, playing off lone striker Matej Jelic. Zoran Barisic however had to make do without the in-form Louis Schaub after the diminutive forward picked up an injury prior to kick off. Three points were the aim as the Hüttledorfers looked to round off an outstanding week by re-asserting themselves as front runners for the Bundesliga crown.

The early stages of the game saw Rapid adopt a measured approach, as they looked to control possession and let the home side do all the off the ball work, no doubt looking to conserve energy after Thursday's international exploits. An early deflected effort from Jelic provided the first moment of danger for either keeper, but the ball squirmed the wrong side of the post (5.). Austrian international Kainz was the next Green & White player to try his luck, his effort much crisper than Jelic’s but off target nonetheless as it narrowly cleared the Grödig crossbar (20.). The best passing move of the first half then yielded the best chance: a Philipp Schobesberger cross was met on the volley by debutant Tomi, who fired the ball against the crossbar (28.). It was a great chance for the Spaniard to open his Rapid account and give his side a deserved lead. Just minutes later Rapid were made to pay for not taking their chances when Venuto scored from the penalty spot after an over-exuberant Max Hofmann had felled Kerschbaum in the box - 1:0 Grödig out of the blue and the complexion of the game completely altered (34.). The remainder of the half played out with little in the way of goal mouth action as the Hüttledorfers sought to steady the ship and re-group during the half time break.


Influential midfielder Thanos Petsos came on at half time in place of Srdjan Grahovic as Zoran Barisic looked to add a more attacking presence to the centre of the midfield. It was the hosts though who got off to the better start as Jan Novota was called into action early on in proceedings to deal with a dangerous effort from Sulimani (53.). Rapid slowly felt their way back into the match, underlined by Schobesberger's teasing cross that unfortunately found no takers as it was whipped across the goal mouth (56.). Despite wrestling themselves back into contention in terms of possession and territory, the Green & Whites were struggling to find the levels of creativity required to create space and openings in the final third of the pitch.

After having come within the width of the crossbar of scoring in the first half, Tomi wasn't to be denied in the second: Grödig keeper Strasser spilt an innocuous looking ball into the box from Kainz, and Rapid’s summer recruit was on hand to make his former team-mate pay, stabbing home from close range to haul his side level - 1:1 (75.)! But the celebrations erupting in amongst the travelling Viennese fans were to prove very, very short lived: again it was Venuto, this time with a deflected shot just a minute after Tomi's goal - Grödig's first of the half - that gave Novota no chance and restored the home side's one goal advantage - 2:1 (76.). Rapid toiled in vain to rescue a point, but uncharacteristically lacking that final piece of magic in and around the opposition box, a late shot from substitute Prosenik (92.) that never really looked like troubling the under-worked Strasser was the best they could muster. The result is a bitter disappointment following what has been a fantastic week in the club’s history. Perhaps the international break is coming at the right time for a young squad that has had to negotiate the rigours of successfully fighting on three fronts.



tipico Bundesliga, 15th round:
SV Grödig - SK Rapid 2:1 (1:0)
Das.Goldberg-Stadion, 2.845 Attendance, Referee Schüttengruber

Goals: 1:0 Venuto (34./Elfmeter), 1:1 Tomi (75.), 2:1 Venuto (76.);

SV Grödig: Strasser - T. Kainz, Maak, Pichler, Denner - Brauer, Rasner (82./Strobl) - Venuto, Kerschbaum (81./Völkl), Schütz (61./Itter) - B. Sulimani;

SK Rapid: Novota - Auer, Sonnleitner, M. Hofmann, Stangl - Schwab (64./S. Hofmann), Grahovac (46./Petsos) - Schobesberger, Tomi, F. Kainz - Jelic (74./Prosenik);

Yellow Cards: Venuto, Pichler; M. Hofmann, Auer, Sonnleitner;