18.02.2017 20:25
tipico Bundesliga, Team

Frustrating 90 minutes as efforts go unrewarded - 0:0

It was with only one goal in mind that our side approached the first competitive home fixture of 2017: after having had to swallow a bitter pill in the shape of Austria Vienna's injury time equaliser last week, nothing less than the three points would do against Admira Wacker. A Rapid side desperate to start climbing the Bundesliga table have fared well this season against the South City outfit, collecting two victories from the hitherto two encounters.

There was good news on the injury front ahead of kick-off as keeper Richard Strebinger was passed fit and took a place on the bench, whilst centre back Max Hofmann recovered in good time and was named in the starting line-up. Unfortunately Thomas Murg was missing after picking up a light knock, and was thusly forced to watch from the stands alongside the suspended Joelinton.

And the Hütteldorfers got off to something of a flying start: Andi Kuen, returning to the starting eleven, tried his luck with an early shot (1.), whilst Arnor Traustason fired narrowly over Admira keeper Leitner's crossbar (3.). The guests were struggling to contain the Green & Whites, who, in a newly shaped 3-4-3 formation, were proving adept at manufacturing space and opportunity down the flanks. However an early glimpse of the frustration that was to plague much of the game became visible early on as good approach play wasn't capitalised upon: the final pass was often missing, as indecision struck Rapid's decision making in the final third. Traustason was showing signs that he might be the architect of any potential breakthrough as he went close with a free kick from the edge of the area (29.) before passing up a great opportunity from close range following a fine set up from Giorgi Kvilitaia (37.). After dominating the opening period the Austrian record champions returned to the dressing room in full knowledge that they could - and should - have been leading the match.

 

There was little change to the pattern of the play in the second half, with Admira struggling to come to terms with Rapid's incisive passing game through the middle third of the pitch up to the edge of the visitor's box. Spiridonovic did momentarily worry the home support when his long range drive flashed past the far post not long after the re-start (56.). With the full backing of the patient but expectant 17,300 strong home crowd, the Hütteldorfers continued to probe away, with Stefan Schwab the next to attempt to break breech the visitor's defence with with a low drive that unfortunately lacked the necessary power to really trouble Leitner (67.). The deadlock remained, and with every passing minute more and more anxiety was heaped onto the game and the going began to get more difficult.

Damir Canadi looked to affect the game from the bench, and threw on icon Steffen Hofmann to rapturous applause. As the Rapid Viertelstunde rolled around it was clear that the Green & Whites were going to have to start throwing caution to the wind somewhat. Young attacking talent was introduced in the shape of Alex Sobczyk (making his debut after stepping up from the reserves) and Tamas Szanto (celebrating his 21st birthday) as Canadi searched for the crucial breakthrough. But the game remained one of frustration and half chances, with Rapid unable to properly force the issue and open up their stubborn opponents. It wasn't until injury time that Rapid's efforts manifested in concrete chances. Following a corner a dangerous looking shot on the turn from Kvilitaia was deflected to safety, but then disaster almost struck as Admira broke and put Posch through one-on-one with Tobias Knoflach; the young keeper fortunately coming out on top to earn his side at least a point. Despite the late chance for Admira, it was clear that the match had belonged to Rapid who could and should have secured an important three points.

(gw)

 

tipico Bundesliga, 22nd round:
SK Rapid - Admira Wacker 0:0

Allianz Stadion, 17.300 Attendance, Ref Drachta

SK Rapid: Knoflach - Auer, Sonnleitner, M. Hofmann - Pavelic, Dibon (85./Szanto), Schwab, Kuen - Schaub (73./S. Hofmann), Traustason (82./Sobczyk) - Kvilitaia;

Admira Wacker: Leitner - Zwierschitz, Wostry, Strauss (92./Posch), Pavic - Lackner, D. Toth - Ebner, Knasmüllner (64./Starkl), Spiridonovic (79./Sax) - Monschein;

Yellow Cards: Sonnleitner; Strauss;