11.12.2016 16:15
tipico Bundesliga, Team

Comprehensive victory in final home game of 2016

The opening phase of Sunday's Bundesliga clash with SV Ried proved to be a frosty and testing affair, not only due to the freezing Viennese winter. The guests from Austria's Innviertel forged into a shock lead with only a few minutes on the clock: A cross from Möschel wasn't properly dealt with by a Rapid defence that was caught on the hop, allowing Elsneg to stab home from close range - 0:1 (4.). The 15,700 strong Hütteldorfer crowd were rightly demanding a home victory to round off what had been a mixed bag in terms of performances in Rapid's debut season in their impressive new Allianz Stadium. However, things got more testing before they improved, with Ried belying their lowly league position as they carried on attacking with confidence, playing a series of dangerous balls in the Green & White penalty area as Rapid struggled to find their way into the match.

But as the half wore on our side began getting to grips with their 3-5-2 formation, and trainer Damir Canadi will have been pleased with the way his troops responded to a difficult situation. Rapid managed to stabilize themselves at the back, and began to use the extra bodies in the centre of the park afforded to them by Canadi's experimental formation. The equaliser nearly arrived on the fifteen minute mark when Thomas Murg’s inch perfect cross found Giorgi Kvilitaia, whose bullet header went inches wide of the target (14.). The baying Rapid crowd only had to wait a further ten minutes though until parity was restored: Mario Sonnleitner wrestled free of his marker to get on the end of an Arnor Traustason corner to put a header beyond the desperate attempted clearance of a Ried defender on the line - 1:1 (26.). Rapid had by now taken over control of the game and continued to set the tempo. Good build up play brought the Hütteldorfers on numerous occasions to the edge of the Ried box, but the final pass required to pierce the deep sitting opposition remained elusive. In the minutes before half time Rapid did manufacture some clear sights of goal, but Christopher Dibon's header went wide (41.), whilst Ried keeper Gebauer did well to save a shot from Traustason (43.).


Canadi opted to make two changes at half time in his quest to unlock the Ried back line, with Tamas Szanto and Manuel Thurnwald thrust into the fold in place of Traustason and Mocinic. Rapid picked up where they had left off in the first period, bossing possession and probing the Ried defence. Slick build up play saw Schaub combine with Kvilitaia, with the Georgian hitman feeding a low cross in towards Joelinton whose cheeky attempt at a finish went just wide of the target (51.). Ried's Zulj then departed proceedings after picking up a second yellow card for diving, and Rapid set about piling the pressure on the ten man opposition, albeit in a controlled manner in the knowledge that conceding a second would only amplify the difficulty of the task at hand.

Kvilitaia again went close with a header, the ammunition this time coming via a cross from the freshly introduced Grahovac, as Rapid continued to ramp up the pressure (74.). Just two minutes later our Georgian forward found his range: Louis Schaub played Thurnwald in down the right hand side of the Ried area, the young full back crossing low towards Kvilitaia, who was left with the simple job of tapping the ball into an unguarded net - 2:1 and Rapid’s patient play had reaped full rewards (77.)! Just five minutes later Özdemir felled Joelinton in the penalty area, Kvilitaia stepped up and coolly converted the spot kick to kill off Ried and seal the three points – 3:1 (82.). The Hütteldorfers played out the rest of the match with total professionalism, not allowing their deflated opponents a sniff of a chance to get back into the game. The victory represented not only an important three points, but also an important confidence booster ahead of the final league match of the year next week, as we travel to Altach to take on the high flying Vorarlberg outfit. The win also added to the mood of optimism around the Allianz Stadium, which had welcomed the arrival of new Sporting Director Fredy Bickel prior to kick off.

Away from the pitch the whole club - the fans, players, and staff - send their thoughts to long term Rapid servant Ivica, who is currently battling against serious illness. Everyone at SK Rapid wishes Ivica a full and speedy recovery!



tipico Bundesliga, 19th round:
SK Rapid - SV Ried 3:1 (1:1)
Allianz Stadium, 15.700 Attendance, Ref Eisner

Goals: 0:1 Elsneg (4.), 1:1 Sonnleitner (26.), 2:1 Kvilitaia (77.), 3:1 Kvilitaia (81./Penalty);

SK Rapid: Strebinger - M. Hofmann, Sonnleitner, Wöber - Dibon (70./Grahovac) - Traustason (46./Thurnwald), Mocinic (46./Szanto), Schaub, Murg - Joelinton, Kvilitaia;

SV Ried: Gebauer - Bergmann, Reifeltshammer, Özdemir, Prada - Ziegl, Brandner - S. Nutz (55./P. Zulj), Elsneg, Möschl (54./Walch) - T. Fröschl (79./Ademi);

Yellow Cards: Mocinic bzw. Brandner, Özdemir;

Yellow/Red Card: P. Zulj (66.);