Comfortable 2:0 victory over Sturm
The Rapid players were welcomed to the pitch by a tremendous choreography supplied by the Lords fan group for the match against the ever dangerous Sturm Graz on Sunday. The start of the match saw the Green & Whites pick up where they left off in the derby with Zoran Barisic's side totally dominating the early exchanges. The first chance fell to Flo Kainz, who hit a stinging volley from inside the right hand side of the Sturm penalty area, which drew a full length diving save from visiting keeper Esser (2.). Schwab was next to try his luck, but his attempt went well over the crossbar (14.).
The pressure continued as Kainz again tested Esser (19), and it came as now surprise when Rapid took the lead five minutes later. A corner was nodded down to Srdjan Grahovac by Kainz, and the midfield man swiveled before unleashing an unstoppable long range effort into the back of the net - 1:0 (24.) and a memorable moment for Grahovac who wheeled away in celebration of only his second goal in competitive football for the club.
The Hütteldorfers continued to press and came within the width of the post of making it two: a beautiful pass from Mario Pavelic found Tomi, who chipped the ball over Esser with a first time left footed effort that struck the base of the post before going out to safety (40.). Tomi had another chance before the break, but failed to bring a low cross from Max Hofmann under control and the danger passed meaning Rapid went into the half time break with a richly deserved one goal advantage.
The Viennese nearly got the second their play had merited at the start of the second period, but Esser denied Kainz in a one on one situation after Schwab had released the flying winger (47.). Just minutes later Tomi should've doubled Rapid’s advantage after seizing on a deflection, but after rounding Esser the Spaniard struck the woodwork for the second time in the match when he looked odds on to roll the ball into an unguarded net; albeit under heavy pressure from a Graz defender (49.). However, it didn't take long before the inevitable second goal finally arrived: Louis Schaub charged through a porous Sturm midfield, played a one-two with Tomi, before rolling the ball to the unmarked Kainz on the right hand side of the area, who opened his body before beating the Sturm keeper with a shot into the far corner - 2:0 (54.) and Rapid were brushing aside a very good opponent.
Graz attempted to muster a fight back, but Richard Strebinger was on hand to repel Edomwonyi's effort - the away side’s first effort of note of the match (59). The chance represented the last real moment of danger for Rapid, who played the game out with style and composure to claim a rarely threatened three points. The 2:0 score line flattered Franco Foda's side and the result moves the Green & whites a healthy eight points above third place, with leaders Salzburg just about in view six points ahead at the Bundesliga summit. All in all, a very satisfactory day at the office for Barisic and his troops. Rapid!!
tipico-Bundesliga, 32nd round:
SK Rapid - SK Sturm Graz 2:0 (1:0)
Ernst-Happel-Stadium, 16.200 Attendance, Ref Schörgenhofer
Goals: 1:0 Grahovac (24.), 2:0 Kainz (55.);
SK Rapid: Strebinger - Pavelic, Dibon, M. Hofmann, Auer - Grahovac, Schwab - Schaub (84./Schobesberger), S. Hofmann (46./Nutz), F. Kainz - Tomi (68./Jelic);
Sturm: Esser - Potzmann (77./Gruber), Avlonitis, Kamavuaka, Lykogiannis - Lovric (67./Kienast), Offenbacher - Schick, M. Stankovic (53./Avdijaj), Horvath - Edomwonyi;
Yellow Cards: Grahovac;