Cluj edge Rapid in second Spanish Friendly

Our second friendly of the Spanish training camp got off to a somewhat inauspicious start: the match officials failed to materialise in time for kick-off, and so willing deputies from each of the teams were required to step forwards. From Rapid, Helge Payer clocked up some meters down the flank as replacement linesman. Eight minutes into the encounter the referee and his assistants finally found their way to the stadium and relieved the understudies of their duties.

By the time Payer had resumed his place on the Rapid bench, the Hütteldorfers were already trailing their table-topping Romanian opponents: Mailat had drifted in off the wing and found the bottom corner with an accomplished finish (3.). Cluj were having the better of the opening stages, Tucabean could've doubled his side’s advantage but fired over the bar from a promising position (8.). Galvao then cleared off the line, whilst Strebinger saved the rebound, as the Green & Whites battled to keep the arears at one. At the other end Thomas Murg was doing his best to get his side back in the match, lashing an effort over the bar (10.), before testing the Cluj keeper with a free-kick (19.). Murg then turned provider for Thanos Petsos, as the combative midfielder volleyed just wide from a corner (36.). The Romanians presented an ever-present danger to the Rapid defence though, and were unlucky not to double their lead when Muresah just failed to force a loose ball over the line during a goalmouth melee.

The Green & Whites did manage to fend off the onslaught and stabilise themselves somewhat in the minutes before half-time, and even threatened to create some openings at the other end as half-chances for Philipp Schobesberger and Mario Pavelic came and went.

The second half brought with it the very welcome sight of midfielder Ivan Mocinic on the field. The Croatian has been on a long, arduous path back from serious injury, and everyone connected with the club will have been delighted to see him get 45 minutes of friendly action under his belt. It was a big step forwards for Ivan, as he continues his careful rehabilitation.

The first clear-cut chance of the half again fell to Cluj, but Coman couldn't get his shot on target after finding himself in acres of space (59.). Despite the Romanians holding the upper hand for much of the contest, Rapid then fashioned an equaliser: A cross was glanced on towards the penalty spot by Kelvin Arase where it was met by Max Hofmann, who instinctively gobbled up the chance with his left foot - 1:1 (68.)!

In the final ten minutes Cluj took the upper hand. They got their noses back in front when Deac converted from the penalty spot after a foul from Max Hofmann (79.), before a scrappy deflected goal from Costache added a third and sealed the victory (88.).

Head Coach Goran Djuricin: "For us it was as expected a real test against a top European team. Cluj are regulars in European tournaments like the Champions League and the Europa League and are currently top of the table in Romania. The match served its purpose in that we have seen the areas on which we need to continue to work during our preparation."


SK Rapid - CFR Cluj 1:3 (0:1)
Wednesday, 22. January 2018
Oliva Nova, 100 Attendance

0:1 Mailat (3.), 1:1 M. Hofmann (68.), 1:2 Deac (79., Penalty), 1:3 Costache (88.);

SK Rapid:
Strebinger; Pavelic (46. Auer), Sonnleitner (46. M. Hofmann), Galvao (46. Müldür), Kuen (46. Bolingoli); Petsos (46. Mocinic), Schwab (46. S. Hofmann); Murg (46. Kuen), Szanto, Schobesberger (46. Arase, 70. Petsos); Joelinton (46. Berisha);

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