Late strike secures three points against LASK
Mid-week fixture number two! After the opening defeat in Salzburg and a deserved win on Sunday against Sturm, the boys had their third game in just eight days on Wednesday evening. The opponents this time were LASK, away in Pasching. Our coach Didi Kühbauer had mentioned in the pre-match press conference that recuperation and recovery were ever-present issues in the squad, so it was unsurprising that rotations were made to the starting XI. Regular keeper Richi Strebinger missed out again with back problems, Mateo Barac was not yet up to speed in training either, as well as the usual suspects on the long-term injury list. Kelvin Arase was fit to start following his brace on Sunday - he had been withdrawn as a precaution against Sturm after that - and he began alongside Stefan Schwab, behind Ercan Kara, who was making only his second appearance for the senior side. Elsewhere in the line-up, Stephan Auer celebrated his 100th appearance for the Green and Whites, Dejan Petrovic got the nod, as did the youngster Leo Greiml once more.
Rapid had shocked LASK here back in December with three second-half goals, and were hoping to repeat the trick, but the first half turned into something of a stalemate. Trauner did test Tobias Knoflach with an acrobatic shot over the shoulder following a long-throw into the danger area (25’), and a cross from Andrade threatened (40’) for LASK, before the best chance of the half fell our way. Schwab retrieved an Arase cross from the back of the box, before turning and feeding Petrovic on the edge of the box, yet keeper Schlager was able to parry the ball away to safety (43’) and keep the scores goalless at the break.
Even in the second-half things remained rather restrained, before LASK created two chances in quick succession. Raguz headed a dangerous corner kick over the bar (59’) and then saw a shot take a wicked deflection before Knoflach intervened (60’). Unfortunately Schwab then picked up a fifth yellow card, and so will miss the meeting with WAC on the weekend. Knoflach had to deal with another long-shot from Klauss (73’) before a triple substitution brought Thorsten Schick, Koya Kitagawa and Taxi Fountas into the action. The latter was the man who found the right place at the right time and did what good strikers do! He stayed alert and used his fresh legs to run onto an ill-judged back-pass from Wiesinger and poke past the LASK keeper for a late 1-0 (87’)! In injury time he tried to beat Schlager again with a lofted shot on the run, but it was pushed agonisingly past the post by the keeper's glove (93’). As we tried to hold on for the points, Michorl slammed a free-kick against the woodwork (96’), but that was the last action of the game!
Yet again Rapid took the win from LASK in Pasching, a feat not to be underestimated, and with those three hard-earned points we move up into second place in the table! Another clash with a close rival comes on Sunday (17:00) when we return home to face WAC! Let’s GO!
Photos: GEPA Pictures.
Bundesliga, 25th round:
LASK - SK Rapid 0:1 (0:0)
Pasching, Raiffeisen Arena, Ref Schörgenhofer
Goal: 0:1 Fountas (87.);
LASK: Schlager – Wiesinger, Trauner, Filipovic (57./Reiter) – Ranftl, Michorl, Holland, Andrade (64./Renner) – Frieser, Raguz (64./Klauss) , Balic (57./Tetteh)
SK Rapid: Knoflach – Greiml, D. Ljubicic, Hofmann – Auer (62./Schick), Grahovac, Petrovic, Ullmann – Arase (71./Kitagawa), Schwab – Kara (62./Fountas)
Yellow Cards: Andrade; Greiml, Schwab