20.09.2018 21:10
UEFA Europa League, Team, Spartak Moskau, Match report

Off to a flyer in the UEL group

A healthy 21,400 fans were in attendance in the West Stadium on Thursday, as Rapid opened their UEFA Europa League group campaign by hosting top Russian club Spartak Moscow. Both teams had something to prove, as both were looking to put bad results from the previous weekend behind them. "Another magical European night" was what head coach Goran Djuricin was after for the Green & Whites and their followers, and right from the get go the players looked to realise their manager's ambition.

The same team that started the derby also started here, and the early pattern of the match reminded one of Sunday's encounter: Rapid looked to set the tempo, pressed hard in the attacking third and were the creative force in the game. Mateo Barac had the game's first sight of goal, heading wide from a corner (8.). At the other end the visitors registered their first attempt on goal through Tomofeev, who tested Richard Strebinger with a drop kick from a cross (12.). The Hütteldorfers wrested back the attacking impetus: Christoph Knasmüllner went close with an effort from the edge of the box (13.), before Spartak keeper Maksimenko denied Thomas Murg (14.). The Russians carried threat on the break but were failing to really get at the Rapid back line and cause problems. Andrei Ivan was the next to try his luck, but his deflected shot from range was gathered by Maksimenko after the Romanian did well to duck inside his marker and make space for the effort (34.). The half time whistle went with the deadlock still in-tact. Whilst Spartak may have been the bookmakers’ favourites, it was Rapid who had looked more likely to find the breakthrough.



The start of the second half did little to change the flow of the game: A half chance fell to captain Stefan Schwab, with the Moscow keeper gathering in the ball at the second attempt (48.). But the fans didn't have to wait much longer: Mert Müldür shrugged of his marker from a corner, drawing a good save from Maksimenko with a header, but the Spartak stopper could only push the ball onto a Russian defender and into his own net - 1:0 and raucous celebrations rang round Hütteldorf (50.)!! The Green & Whites had their opponents on the ropes and went looking to land a killer blow. By contrast, Spartak only briefly threatened when Fernando hit a free kick onto the post, with his team mates flagged for offside as they looked to follow up and get on the end of the rebound (55.). But any feeling Moscow may have had that they could get back into the match was quickly extinguished: a superb ball cut open the Spartak defence, allowing Thomas Murg to run through clean on goal, round Maksimenko and slot into an empty net – 2:0 and the celebrations were erupting before the ball had even crossed the line (68.)!!

The Rapid bench brought on Andrija Pavlovic for Deni Alar and Veton Berisha for Ivan, as they sought to give their side the energy boost needed to carry them to the finish line. Ze Luis did have a golden chance to get Spartak back into the game but blazed over from close range (73.). With the chance went the Russians' hopes, as a physically and mentally strong Hütteldorfer outfit denied their opponents a route back into contention. The score remained 2:0, and Rapid had got off to flying start in the group with a well-deserved victory and crucial three points. The result will also have restored belief and confidence after a difficult match last time out – which is particularly good, as on the weekend the Green & Whites travel to take on reigning champions RB Salzburg. RAPID!!



UEFA Europa League, 1st matchday:
SK Rapid - FC Spartak Moskau 2:0 (0:0)

Weststadion, 21.400 Attendance, Ref Alain Bieri (SUI)

Goals: 1:0 (50.) Timofejew (Own Goal), 2:0 (68.) Murg;

SK Rapid: Strebinger – Müldür, Sonnleitner, Barac, Potzmann – Ljubicic, Schwab – Murg, Knasmüllner (86. Martic), Ivan (76. Berisha) – Alar (71. Pavlovic);

FC Spartak Moskau: Maksimenko – Rasskasow, Bocchetti, Dschikija, Melgarejo – Timofejew (81. Ignatow), Fernando, Sobnin – Lomowitskij (73. Samedow), Ze Luis, Pedro Rocha (73. Popow)

Yellow Cards: Ljubicic; Ze Luis, Lomowitskij