Cup: Rapid can't stop Salzburg in the Last 16
With Salzburg we have a long-running cup history: For the fourth time since 2017 our team faced the defending champions in the UNIQA ÖFB Cup, with two of those meetings coming in the final in Klagenfurt. The painful memories from those cup final defeats were only added to by last season's bitter 2-1 loss, in which Salzburg's winning goal came after 121 minutes. So what was it to be this season? For this last 16 tie, Max Hofmann was fit again, but Kelvin Arase had to miss out with an illness. Head Coach Didi Kühbauer was forced into another change with Filip Stojkovic missing after a red card in our previous match against WSG. After a minute’s silence in memory of the legendary coach Otto Baric, the game got started.
The manner in which the game began, however, was not what we wanted to see. Salzburg moved the ball forward at pace, transitioned with some quick short passes, and when Szoboszlai received a one-two in the box he clipped over Paul Gartler in goal for 1-0 (16’). Not long after the restart the hosts were at it again; a free kick was swung into the box towards Koita, who knocked the ball across the face of goal for Berisha to tap in (19’). Berisha then returned the favour with a through ball for Koita who rounded Gartler, cut back behind the rescue efforts of the defence, and fired in for a quick third (23’). With the home team cruising, we had to quickly switch to damage limitation mode, as Kristensen’s long shot sailed not too far over the bar (29’). Before the break we did show some signs of life though; first Ercan Kara went close with a lobbed effort (44’), before Taxi Fountas burst clear down the left with a lovely touch, only to be fouled by Kristensen and convert the penalty with a powerful low strike. 3-1 (45’).
After the restart our team clearly improved, and displayed some urgently needed fighting spirit. And lo and behold, we also managed to get forward and have some chances. However, the best openings remained on Salzburg's side: Szoboszlai's free kick hit the crossbar (50’), and a long shot by Camara from 35 yards was turned over by Gartler (61’). The result seemed to have been secured before the Rapid quarter-hour when Daka was able to shoot from an acute angle in the box and make it 4-1 (74’). However, a little drama was at least restored, because Max Ullmann took aim from miles out and thundered a beautiful strike into the net with full power - a dream goal, but only a small ray of hope (78’).
After that, it was the opponents' turn again: Max Hofmann saw a second yellow after a foul on Okafor as he broke through, and although the incident was just outside the area, a penalty was awarded. Camara converted the penalty (82’), and unfortunately the bitter end was eventually confirmed by Kristensen, who muscled his way into the box and smashed in for 6-2 (88’). That was it for a more than difficult cup game away in Salzburg, now we have to turn our attentions back to the Bundesliga for one final game of 2020 away at Admira on Saturday.
Photos: GEPA Pictures.
UNIQA ÖFB Cup:
RB Salzburg - SK Rapid 6:2 (3:1)
RB Arena, Ref Altmann
Goals: 1:0 Szoboszlai (16.), 2:0 Berisha (19.), 3:0 Koita (23.), 3:1 Fountas (45.+1/Penalty), 4:1 Daka (74.), 4:2 Ullmann (79.), 5:2 Camara (83./Penalty), 6:2 Kristensen (87.);
SK Rapid spielte mit: Gartler; Schick, Greiml, Hofmann, Barac, Ullmann; Grahovac (80. Schuster), Ritzmaier (75. Petrovic); Knasmüllner (75. Demir); Kara (85. Sonnleitner), Fountas (80. Kitagawa);