Off to a flyer! 4-1 against Admira
Friday's season opener offered something of a return to normality, albeit under special circumstances, as 10,000 fans descended on the Allianz Stadium in Hütteldorf for our opener against Admira. Everything took place within the hygiene and safety protocols that were put in place, and everyone adhered to the rules in order to enjoy an evening of football together again. The fans that were allowed in were treated to a real festival of football too, with Yusuf Demir getting a first Bundesliga start in place of Kelvin Arase, and former Rapid duo Maierhofer and Hoffer leading the line for opponents Admira.
Rapid started the brighter of the two sides, with Dejan Ljubicic's shot blocked, before a dream goal opened the scoring. Thomas Murg brought the ball inside from the right flank, before unleashing a stunning curler into the far corner for 1-0 (8’). Murg was involved in our next dangerous moment too, crossing to Max Hofmann, whose header went over the bar (14’). Our boys acted as though they deserved more, but carried on calmly, playing with freedom and relishing the occasion. After a corner ball was flicked on, Ercan Kara headed off-target (30’), but we were able to add to the lead before the interval. A cross into the area was not dealt with effectively, and a floored Kara was able to steer the ball in the direction of Taxi Fountas, who didn't need a second invitation to arrow the ball high into the corner for 2-0 (43’)!
With very little created by the Upper-Austrians, Rapid were able to go through the gears. The impressive Murg cut in from the sidelines once again, but his placed effort was pushed to safety by visiting keeper Leitner, and with the next attempt Demir fired just wide (49’). The Green and Whites were edging ever closer to a third goal, with Murg finding only the bar from Kara's cross (52’), before a Max Ullmann strike was chalked-off for offside despite Taxi Fountas being a passive bystander and not interfering with the play (58’). Kara then went close with a solo run and shot, being denied only by a bit of last-ditch defending from Admira (64’).
It took more than an hour for the visitors to carve out their first opportunity, a header from Maierhofer came back off the crossbar and fell to the same player, but he could only prod the rebound back over the top (69’). We rode a bit of luck in that moment, but it was merited by a performance in which we continued to set the tone. Substitute Christoph Knasmüllner slid a ball-in from Ljubicic just past the post (72’), but shortly after, there were more celebrations. Kara set things up with a fierce shot which squirmed past Leitner in goal and rolled towards the goal line, and Taxi Fountas was there once again to sweep the ball home with ease for 3-0 (73’)! Out of the blue, Admira pulled one back with a long shot from Hausjell which cannoned in off the underside of the bar (80’), but it was only a temporary setback, as Rapid re-established a deserved winning margin. Ljubicic threaded a pass through to Murg, whose square ball picked out Koya Kitagawa to tap in for 4-1 (90’)! That completed a dominant victory which was beautiful not just in a sporting sense, but in every sense. RAPID!
Photos: GEPA Pictures.
Press conference after the game
Bundesliga, 1st round:
SK Rapid -Admira 4:1 (2:0)
Allianz Stadion, 10.000 Attendance, Ref Jäger
Goals: 1:0 Murg (8.), 2:0 Fountas (43.), 3:0 Fountas (73.), 3:1 Hausjell (80.), 4:1 Kitagawa (90.);
SK Rapid: Strebinger – Stojkovic, Greiml, Hofmann, Ullmann – D. Ljubicic, Petrovic (82./Grahovac) – Murg, Fountas (82. Savic), Demir (68./Knasmüllner) – Kara (76./Kitagawa)
FC Admira: Leitner – Bauer, Aiwu, Schösswendter (46./Hjulmand), L. Malicsek – Maier, Tomic (82./Buchta), Kerschbaum (46./Saracevic), Cirkovic (64./Hausjell) – Hoffer (82./Lukacevic), Maierhofer
Yellow Cards: Murg, Fountas, Stojkovic; Maierhofer, Maier