Ritzmaier double puts us on the road to Round 3
The Arena Wiener Neustadt was sold out long before Rapid rolled up in the team bus for this UNIQA ÖFB Cup 2nd Round match, with capacity limited to just 1250 fans due to Covid restrictions; but at least some fans got the chance to watch our return to action following the international break. This cup tie took us to Wiener Neustadt of the third tier, or "1. Wiener Neustädter SC" as they are now known, but we had a new name of our own for this game, as Marcel Ritzmaier had earned a place in the line-up having impressed in training - and what a debut he had too! Head coach Didi Kühbauer had a few other fresh faces in his line-up as well, with one eye on the upcoming midweek matches.
We settled into the role of favourites well, with Ercan Kara turning in the box, making room and striking the bar (11’), before putting a long shot over the bar (13’). Once again it was Kara who showed his agility to win an aerial challenge, but his header was cleared off the line (16’). Never mind though, from the very next move, we had the lead! Christoph Knasmüllner broke free nicely, took a few steps forwards and arrowed his drive into the top corner for 1-0 (17’). Our joy was short-lived though, as a long Weidinger free-kick bounced its way into the net for the equaliser (22’).
But Rapid, who had started the game so well, kept up the pace and then some: Marcel Ritzmaier took his first free-kick in Green and White, and made it a memorable one with a stunning strike from 25 yards: 2-1 (32’)! Shortly afterwards, captain Dejan Ljubicic should have added to the scoreline, but he couldn't control a header from close range (36’). Ercan Kara rewarded himself for his great efforts with a goal right at the whistle though; after a corner from Thorsten Schick, he headed in from the six-yard-line for, 3:1 (45’)!
After the break the hosts had the chance to bring the game back to life, when Sabados took advantage of some miscommunication in our defence to run through, before Richi Strebinger sprang in to action well (54’). After that moment, Rapid never really relinquished control of the reins: Home keeper Otto had to pick a Knasmüllner free-kick out of the corner of his net (56’), before saving a Ritzmaier half-volley (64’). When our debutant made some space next time though, he beat the keeper once more, slamming a beautiful shot into the top left corner from just outside the box for 4-1 (70’)! Aside from a Prenqui header over the bar (74’) the hosts had little to shout about, but once the clock ticked over into the “Rapid-Viertelstunde” two substitutes combined to settle the scores. A strong run from Melih Ibrahimoglu allowed him to tee up Kelvin Arase, who steered his shot inside the back post for 5-1 (77’)!
As a return to action after the international break, as well as a dress-rehearsal before the UEFA Europa League opener against Arsenal, it was a perfect day’s work with just the result that we wanted! RAPID!
Photos: GEPA Pictures.
UNIQA ÖFB Cup, 2nd round:
1. Wiener Neustädter SC - SK Rapid 1:5 (1:3)
Saturday, 17th of October 2020
Arena Wiener Neustadt, 1250 Attendance
Goals 0:1 Knasmüllner (17.), 1:1 Weidinger (22.), 1:2 Ritzmaier (32.), 1:3 Kara (45.), 1:4 Ritzmaier (70.), 1:5 Arase (77.);
SK Rapid: Strebinger; Stojkovic (60. Arase), Sonnleitner, Hofmann (60. Barac), Ullmann; Ljubicic (60. Grahovac), Petrovic; Schick, Knasmüllner (74. Ibrahimoglu), Ritzmaier; Kara (46. Kitagawa);