The calendar year is closed out with a win!
Rapid approached the final game of 2019 with a place in the top 3 at stake, and the aim was to carry some good momentum into the break, and make some positive memories to warm the fans throughout the long winter ahead! A weather front full of cold wind and rain descended on the stadium suddenly ahead of kick off against Admira, and just as quickly as that blew in, our team took the initiative and opened the scoring! A pass from Christoph Knasmüllner found Thomas Murg outside the box, and with the defence retreating, he was able to advance before placing a low shot into the corner for 1-0 (2’)! Before the hosts had time to even take stock of that lightning start, our fans were celebrating another goal! This time Srdjan Grahovac fed Kelvin Arase down the right, he passed to Knasmüllner, whose through ball took a helpful touch from a defender, before sitting up for Taxi Fountas - returning to the squad after the birth of his son - to score from an angle for 2-0 (7’).
With their only dangerous play of the first period, Admira responded, but when Kadlec got on the end of Bauer’s cross from the right wing, his header was miscued across the face of the goal (22’). Other than that, it was all Rapid: Knasmüllner tested keeper Leitner with a shot from the ‘D’ (26’), and he had to make another good stop moments later when Murg whipped in a beauty of a deep cross from the left, and Fountas floated in before having his shot saved at the near post (28’). Further shots followed from Murg, who sent one wide from range (36’) and Knasmüllner, who had his effort blocked (40’) as Rapid left the field with a well-deserved two-goal advantage after 45 minutes.
Admira came out with a bit more bite about them in the second half, but we still created the better of the chances; Arase poked a shot over after being played in by Knasmüllner (53’), and then Murg intercepted a loose attacking pass from the home side, before galloping forward and picking out a through pass for Fountas, who had no trouble slotting the ball past the Admira keeper for 3-0 (57’). With that goal the game as a contest was over and we sat back a little more, but Fountas still saw enough of the goal to turn and fire a half-volley just over the bar (72’).
With the life draining out of the trailing Admira side, there was still time to celebrate some welcome changes, if no more goals. Koya Kitagawa finally got some more game time after his lengthy spell on the sidelines with an ankle injury, and just before the end, Yusuf Demir came on to become the youngest ever Bundesliga player at just 16 years old. The away fans naturally greeted both moments with the applause they deserved, but in terms of goalmouth action to cheer, there was only a shot on the turn from Badji which went way over, and a late shot from Admira danger-man Bakis which suffered the same fate.
They say 3 is the magic number, and that was that for 2019; the year capped-off with 3 goals and 3 points, to leave Rapid in position number 3 until action resumes once more in February. Onwards and upwards for 2019, RAPID!
Bundesliga, 18th round:
FC Admira - SK Rapid 0:3 (0:2)
BSFZ-Arena, 4.643 Attendance, Ref Muckenhammer
Goals: 0:1 (2.) Murg, 0:2 (7.) Fountas, 0:3 (57.) Fountas
FC Admira: Leitner – Bauer, Schösswendter, Lackner (73. Maier), Lukacevic – Kerschbaum (66. Toth), Hjulmand – Saracevic, Kadlec, Paintsil (61. Starkl) – Bakis
SK Rapid: Strebinger – Stojkovic, Sonnleitner, Barac, Ullmann – Grahovac, Schwab – Murg (82. Demir), Knasmüllner (73. Kitagawa), Arase – Fountas (78. Badji)
Yellow Cards: Bauer; Kitagawa;