3:1 vs. Altach: Back to winning ways with a strong showing
For our home game against Altach, once more only 1500 fans were allowed to attend, but given the latest government regulations to help combat the rising numbers of Covid19 cases, each of those fans was well aware that this would be their last chance to see Rapid play live at the Allianz Stadium for a while. After the disappointment of defeat against Molde in midweek, there were a few changes to the line-up as we looked to get back to winning ways: Paul Gartler was not one of them, he remained in goal after an heroic effort between the sticks in the Europa League, but Dejan Petrovic and Christoph Knasmüllner began this time in midfield behind sole striker Koya Kitagawa. Opponents Altach had recently recorded a first win of the campaign, and our desire to stop them getting a foothold was clear to see after the opening few minutes were up.
Max Ullmann flicked a pass through to Knasmüllner in the box for the first of many chances, but his shot was parried (9’). He had another go from a free kick on the edge of the area (15’) which sailed over, before Kitagawa was the one through on goal, only to be the next player denied smartly by Altach keeper Kobras (18’). A goal was well and truly coming for Rapid, and we didn’t need to wait much longer, Kitagawa found Ullmann in space deep on the left wing, and he burst forward and sent in a low cross which Knasmüllner tucked in for the precious opener; 1-0 (22’)!
The chances continued to flow and they were almost all in our favour, with the Altach defence forced to work overtime in increasingly wet conditions. Ullmann hit a fierce strike from the edge of the box which needed to be turned over the bar (25’), before Kitagawa laid one on a plate for Thorsten Schick; another save (27’)! At this point it should certainly have been 2-0, but it was almost 1-1 in a flash, when - out of nowhere - Obasi steered a header towards the bottom corner, forcing a smart stop from a diving Gartler (28’). The rest of the first half action was entirely ours though, with Arase unable to reach a low cross in the six-yard box (33’) and Ullmann again testing Kobras from range (35’). Kobras then had a hefty collision with Mateo Barac who was attempting to head in from a set-piece (45’) but thankfully both could play out the last few seconds of the half. 1-0 at the break then, but some frustration was felt at the fact that the game was not over as a contest already.
The Green and Whites were undoubtedly looking to release some of that frustration in the second half, and we started off in much the same vein, in every sense! Schick was able to break free on the right hand side, but once he was in the box his shot went agonisingly into the side-netting (50’). Kitagawa then remained alert to commandeer a bouncing back pass, but he prodded over (53’). Neither player let their head drop though, and moments later captain Dejan Ljubicic spread the play to Schick on the right, and he squared the ball for Kitagawa to steer home past Kobras (54’)! Finally 2-0!
Ercan Kara and Marcel Ritzmaier were brought on in place of the recent scorer and assist-provider, and Kara almost had a goal of his own immediately, rounding the keeper and finding the net before being denied only by a tight offside call (61’). The substitute then linked up nicely with Ullmann before the latter had another shot saved (67’). Srdjan Grahovac and Melih Ibrahimoglu were the next players to enter the fray, and it was Grahovac who went close this time, hitting the side-netting from range with a remarkable 23rd Rapid shot (74’)! Kara then continued the immense pressure with a shot off the post (79’) before Ritzmaier sealed the deal with a stunning goal; picking up the ball in midfield, driving forward with options left and right, instead choosing to chip sumptuously over Kobras for a memorable 3-0 (81’)! With our shot tally approaching 30, Altach suddenly had just their second, and yet Stefel picked out the bottom corner for an immediate response (82’). There was no hint of a sting in the tail though, as we saw the game out comfortably. Mario Sonnleitner in fact went closest to adding a fourth in stoppage time but we had to make do with a dominant 3-1, and a good rehearsal for our next big home game against Dundalk on Thursday. RAPID!
Visitors Altach hardly laid a glove on us in Sunday’s game
Once more our goals were celebrated in front of just 1500 fans
Always a step ahead, Dejan Petrovic, and the whole team!
Fotos: GEPA Pictures.
Bundesliga, 6th round:
SK Rapid - SCR Altach 3:1 (1:0)
Allianz Stadion, 1.500 Attendance, Ref Kijas
Goals: 1:0 Knasmüllner (22.), 2:0 Kitagawa (54.), 3:0 Ritzmaier (81.), 3:1 Stefel (83.);
SK Rapid: Gartler – Stojkovic, Hofmann, Barac (82./Sonnleitner), Ullmann – Ljubicic (74./Grahovac), Petrovic – Schick (61./Ritzmaier), Knasmüllner (74./Ibrahimoglu), Arase – Kitagawa (61./Kara);
Altach: Kobras – Thurnwald, Zwischenbrugger, Netzer (60./Bumberger), Edokpolor, Karic (20./Schreiner/71. Tartarotti) – Fischer, Wiss, Casar (71./Stefel) – Obasi (60./D. Nussbaumer), Maderner
Yellow Cards: Kara; Edokpolor, Wiss, Netzer, Bumberger