Rapid forced to settle for point in 322nd Vienna derby
The sold-out Allianz Stadium was turned into a cauldron by the 26,000 fans packed into the terraces on Sunday: the 322nd Vienna derby had rolled around - the first of the season - and an early opportunity for the Hütteldorfers to avenge the two home defeats suffered at the hands of their cross-city rivals last season. And for the largest part of the game it looked as though the win was within the Green & White grasp, only for old problems to re-surface as two points and city bragging rights slipped through Rapid's fingers.
From the first whistle a determined and motivated Rapid were first to every ball, and won every 50/50 challenge. With the crowd up and the guests from Favoriten pushed deeper and deeper, the early exchanges belonged to Djuricin's side. The first chance of the game arrived as early as the second minute, when Austria keeper Hadzikic punched a corner only as far as Andi Kuen on the edge of the box, who rifled the ball towards the goal, past the stranded goalie, only for a last-gasp intervention from a lunging Violet defender preventing Kuen giving his side an early lead (2.). Stefan Schwab then threatened to cause problems for Austria after another searching ball was delivered into the box (3.), as Rapid bossed their shaken and startled opponents. After the flurry of early goal mouth action, the Hütteldorfers lost their rhythm somewhat; as the derby atmosphere manifested itself on the pitch, the game became overly hectic and Rapid's passing football harried and rushed. It was during this period that Austria fashioned their best chance of the half, when Grünwald saw a snap shot from a dangerous position blocked. That was as good as it got for the Favoriten side, as Rapid re-asserted themselves and got back on the front foot.
Shortly before the break Rapid's energy and dominance was rewarded: A beautiful cross from Thomas Schrammel was played expertly onto the head of the unmarked Schaub, who effortlessly steered the ball into the corner and beyond Hadzikic with a deft flick - 1:0 and the who of Hütteldorf joined in the wild celebrations with the young father-in-waiting (38.). Things could have been doubly good for Rapid before the break, but a clear foul on Joelinton, who had weaved his way into the penalty area, went unpunished and the Green & Whites were denied what looked a stonewall penalty (45.).
The beginning of the second half saw Rapid continuing to press for a what looked one assumed would be a killer second goal. Joelinton was again causing Austria all sorts of trouble at the back, firstly as he went within inches with a low shot across the goal after showing excellent strength in bursting into the box (49.), then again as he tested Hadzikic from a tight angle (50.). The growing uncertainty creeping into the Austria defence paid off handsomely for Rapid, as Schaub doubled their advantage: The Violets got an attempt to play out from the back horribly wrong as Auer exerted enormous pressure on the ball before chasing down an under-hit back pass. Hadzikic beat Auer to the ball, but could only play it as far as Louis Schaub, who kept his cool and guided the ball into the empty net from 35 yards - 2:0 (55.)!
With Austria there for the taking, Rapid failed to land the killer blow: Joelinton opened his body well but shot wide from a tight angle, whilst Wöber should have done better after getting on the end of an inviting cross. Andi Kuen then fed the ball to Stefan Schwab, whose goal-bound shot was deflected wide of the target. Rapid had been battering away at the door, but Austria had managed to cling on to a foothold in the game.
As the game headed towards the final 15 minutes the momentum and feel of the game changed in the blink of an eye as Austria pulled one back: Out of nothing substitute Prokop found space in the Rapid box and produced a smart finish with the outside of his boot into the far corner of Strebinger's net - 1:2 (73.). Ten minutes later disaster struck as Prokop again found space in the box, this time last man Schrammel upended the Austria forward: Red card and penalty. Holzhauser sent Strebinger the wrong way with a firm low drive into the right-hand corner, and, incredibly, a side that had looked down and out was now level with a man advantage for the closing minutes - 2:2 (85.). Austria did threaten in a hectic finale, but the ten men of Rapid saw out the final stages and secure an underwhelming point.
In his post-match interview, Rapid trainer Goran Djuricin echoed the thoughts of Green & White followers across the land: "At the moment it feels like we lost the game." But as the dust settles there will be plenty of positives for the Rapid trainer team to mull over as they prepare for the short trip south to face Admira Wacker. Rapid will need to develop a ruthless streak in the coming weeks if the team is to deliver on its obvious potential. Come on you Greens!
tipico Bundesliga, 3rd round:
SK Rapid - FK Austria 2:2 (1:0)
Allianz Stadion, 26.000 Attendance, Ref Harkam
Goals: 1:0 Schaub (39.), 2:0 Schaub (55.), 2:1 Prokop (73.), 2:2 Holzhauser (85./Penalty);
SK Rapid: Strebinger - Pavelic, Sonnleitner, Wöber, Schrammel - Auer, Schwab - Murg (72. Keles), Schaub (84. Thurnwald), Kuen – Joelinton;
FK Austria: Hadzikic - Larsen, Westermann, Filipovic, Martschinko - Serbest (58. Prokop) - Tajouri, Grünwald (79. De Paula), Holzhauser, Pires – Friesenbichler;
Yellow Cards: Schrammel, Auer, Sonnleitner, Kuen; Holzhauser, Filipovic, Larsen
Red Card: Schrammel (84.);