Impressive efficiency brings a big win away at LASK
The injury-list has been a major talking point for Rapid of late, and unsurprisingly it had its impact on match day 16 as well, with Stephan Auer and Filip Stojkovic not ready to face LASK after picking up knocks in last week's draw vs Sturm. Mateo Barac had already made his comeback from injury, but didn’t complete the 90 minutes last weekend either, so SK Rapid II captain Lion Schuster, Yusuf Demir and Adrian Hajdari took to the bench, Hajdari for the first time. After a bitter 2-1 defeat to LASK in Hütteldorf a few months back, there was of course a bit of revenge at stake here, not to mention the chance to regain 4th spot in the table.
On the field, LASK showed immediately why their results have been so strong this season, Frieser getting in an early attack by controlling a high ball on the edge of the box before colliding with Richi Strebinger, who then pounced into action to block Ranftl’s follow up shot (3.). The Rapid response almost gave us the lead, Christoph Knasmüllner putting a cross on a plate for teammate Taxi Fountas, whose header was on target, but couldn’t beat home keeper Schlager's excellent dive (19.). Another good cross from Stefan Schwab couldn't be converted by Fountas (32.) but he was offside anyway. The red shirts of Rapid didn’t have to wait much longer for the lead though, a quick throw in from Schwab released Fountas down the left flank, his square ball found Knasmüllner in the middle, and he just had to slot the ball home for 1-0 (34.)! LASK didn’t take it lying down though, former Rapid player Potzmann set up Klauss, who rattled the crossbar with a diving header, and Raguz' rebound shot was expertly tipped over by Strebinger (36.) to preserve the lead at the break.
After the interval, LASK kept up the push for the leveller, Michorl hitting the bar once again for the hosts (57.), and Wiesinger missing the target (66.), before we unleashed our key weapon for the day, the counter. Schwab played a direct ball forward to Dejan Ljubicic, who in turn set up Fountas to find the net for 2-0 on a lightning fast break (68.)! After that, we never looked like relinquishing the lead, Aliou Badji came on, as did Lion Schuster, who made his Bundesliga debut (after featuring in the cup clash with Salzburg earlier in the year) and the match just got better for the team and our travelling fans.
The deciding moment came as LASK battled to get back into the match; Goiginger was sent off for criticising the referee whilst defending a free-kick, and then when the set-piece was taken, Schwab's ball in drifted deep into the area, before being knocked into the net by the back of Filipovic’s head - 3-0 (84.)! From a fine Christopher Dibon pass, Badji missed a chance to extend the lead (88.), but he wasn’t to be denied, and when fellow substitute Thomas Murg gave him another chance, he squeezed the ball past Schlager for 4-0 (93.)!
A huge win avenged our home defeat by LASK, lifted Rapid back up above Sturm into 4th place, and serves as the perfect preparation for next weekend: The 330th Vienna Derby at home in Hütteldorf! RAPID!
Bundesliga, 16th round:
LASK - SK Rapid 0:4 (0:1)
Raiffeisen Arena, 6.017 (sold out), Ref Gishamer
Goals: 0:1 Knasmüllner (34.), 0:2 Fountas (67.), 0:3 Filipovic (84./Eigentor), 0:4 Badji (93.);
LASK: A. Schlager – Wiesinger, Trauner, Filipovic – Ranftl, Holland, Michorl, Potzmann (61. Renner) – Goiginger, Raguz (76. Klauss), Frieser (61. Tetteh);
SK Rapid: Strebinger – Sonnleitner, Dibon, Barac – Arase, Ljubicic (80. Schuster), Grahovac, Ullmann – Schwab – Knasmüllner (90. Murg), Fountas (73. Badji)
Yellow Cards: Frieser, Michorl, Trauner; Ljubicic, Sonnleitner, Arase, Schwab, Badji;
Red Card: Goiginger (81.);