Rapid run riot in 3-0 win over LASK
After consecutive away matches it felt as though the last home game in Hütteldorf was a distant memory, and although only 3,000 Rapid fans were allowed in for this match day 4 clash, they certainly got treated to a game worth waiting for! Mateo Barac started once again in the centre of the defence, with Srdjan Grahovac in a central midfield role as Rapid looked to continue a good run against a LASK side who had played a Europa League qualifier mid-week, but still had plenty of quality on the team sheet.
In the opening few moments, both teams looked a little nervous in this clash of European group stage participants, with several passes running astray, however the home side clearly got into gear the quicker of the two. Ercan Kara played target-man perfectly, winning an aerial duel with WIesinger to head on for Thomas Murg on the right, he then squared to Taxi Fountas who was denied from close range by a brave stop from debutant LASK keeper Lawal (6’). Rapid’s three-pronged attack would become a theme in this match, and it was only seconds after that first real opening that they sliced through the opposition once more. Kara won the ball in the centre again, and this time chose to go left, spreading play towards Fountas. It was then his turn to play the ball square for Murg, and the pass was right on the money allowing Murg to side-foot in at the back post for 1-0 (7’)!
Our boys didn't want to take their foot off the gas and allow LASK a way back into the match, and their continued pressure paid off again when a long ball from Max Hofmann went over the head of Wiesinger and found Fountas, who shrugged off the challenge before firing accurately into the bottom corner to double our advantage: 2-0 (22’)! With Rapid utterly dominant, Murg tried to add another from an angle (28’) and then benefited from more strong Kara hold-up play as he burst forward towards the LASK goal, but didn’t find Kelvin Arase on the overlap (35’). Captain Dejan Ljubicic then shrugged off a knock to begin another sweeping attack, feeding Fountas for a gilt-edged chance before the offside flag brought play back (39’). With the last action of a brutally one-sided half, Kara earned a free-kick 20-yards out: Murg fired the set-piece goalwards but a parry from the solid Lawal in goal kept the scores as they were (45+3’) So it was a two-goal advantage at half time and a breathtaking display of intensity all over the pitch from the Green & Whites, but could they keep it up in the second period?
LASK were not going to go out without a fight, and they registered their first real effort of note after the interval, with Richi Strebinger having to dive to push away a decent strike from Balic (48’). Kara, so effective in attack, then proved his worth at the back, clearing off the line after a corner ball reached Andrade who could only shin it back across goal for LASK (53’). After that, Rapid wrestled back control of the game, albeit without the same level of danger from the first half: Arase played a ball in to Fountas on the edge of the box, but he went for goal rather than playing in Max Ullmann, and couldn’t hit the target (64’). The game was then virtually decided when Ramsebner saw red for the guests after leaving his studs up on Fountas (66’) who was thankfully able to play on.
Our side remained extremely comfortable at the back as substitutions began to interrupt the flow of play: Thorsten Schick replaced Arase and Yusuf Demir came on for the tireless Murg, but it was Kara who went closest once again by out-muscling Filipovic under a bouncing long ball, before slotting his finish just past the post (79’). Fountas then forced Lawal into another near-post stop (79’) before being brought off for Koya Kitagawa. The Japanese striker got involved immediately with a nice run past opponents on the left, his cross was hammered into the area but Lawal held it well (83’). Fellow sub Demir went on a mazy run forward and fired wide from the edge of the box (86’) as Rapid remained thoroughly dominant and hunted for a third goal. It looked like two would have to do for us when pinball broke out in the box after a corner and yet somehow a shot from Hofmann and a tricky Demir effort stayed out, but our boys were not going to give up on that extra goal. With LASK pegged back in their own corner, Kitagawa won the ball to start a quick move with Ullmann and Demir, who crossed from the byline for Ercan Kara to finally get the goal that he and the whole team had well and truly earned (90+3’)!
It was a statement win against a top side, and Rapid ran riot going forward for virtually the whole game, so we can be satisfied at the end of match day 4 with second place in the Bundesliga table. RAPID!
Fotos: GEPA Pictures.
Bundesliga, 4th round:
SK Rapid - LASK 3:0 (2:0)
Allianz Stadion, 3.000 Attendance, Ref Hameter
Goals: 1:0 Murg (7.), 2:0 Fountas (22.), 3:0 Kara (93.);
SK Rapid: Strebinger – Stojkovic, Hofmann, Barac – Arase (71. Schick), D. Ljubicic, Grahovac, Ullmann – Murg (77. Demir), Kara, Fountas (81. Kitagawa);
LASK: Lawal – Ramsebner, Wiesinger (46. Andrade), Filipovic (81. Haudum) – Ranftl, Holland, Michorl, Renner – Gruber (72. Plojer), Raguz, Balic
Yellow Cards: Kara, Schick; Holland, Wiesinger, Gruber, Filipovic;
Red Card: Ramsebner (66./Foul);