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Spielbericht, ADMIRAL Bundesliga, Profis

A Painful Loss in Linz

 A slow start at LASK’s new stadium saw Rapid fall behind, before Ferdy Druijf’s classy goal reduced the deficit in a comeback which ultimately came up short on Sunday.

 For the first time, SK Rapid headed to the Gugl in Linz to face Championship Group rivals LASK at their brand new stadium on Sunday. Just shy of 2,000 Rapid fans made the trip to cheer on the team from a sold-out away sector, as we aimed to hunt down the team directly in front of us in the table. Head coach Zoran Barišić was forced to make several personnel changes as captain Guido Burgstaller and Thorsten Schick were both suspended for accumulated cautions, Denso Kasius was out after his sending-off in last weekend’s derby, and Leo Querfeld is unavailable for the rest of the season having suffered ligament damage in the same game. Regardless of those who were missing out, the away fans were right there with the team, as they turned their corner of the stadium Green & White for the whole 90 minutes.

Early in the game, the hosts profited from something of a fortunate pass into the area, as Robert Zulj was almost surprised to find himself in on goal, but he put his chance away for 1-0 to LASK (10’). Two minutes later Niki Hedl confirmed his status as one of the country’s best keepers, when Zulj placed a shot on target which wrongfooted him, yet Hedl’s razor sharp reactions allowed him to switch directions and get down just in time. After the early home pressure ebbed away, the Hütteldorfers were eventually able to make their presence felt in attack. Moritz Oswald had a go from range after a corner kick, but his shot was too high (16’).

With LASK pulling away to seven points ahead in the “as-it-stood” table, Rapid had to go all-out in attack, and with 26 minutes gone, Martin Koscelnik unleashed a dipping volley which sailed just off target. Unfortunately Rapid’s efforts were hampered by a mistake in the build-up play, which again presented Zulj with an unexpected opportunity which he was able to make the most of for the hosts; 2-0 (34’). Our job had only been made harder, and LASK pushed on until the interval, missing a couple of chances to add to their lead before the half-time break.

Shortly after the break, Ferdy Druijf gave us a fighting chance in the game.

The course of the game led to a double change at half-time: Patrick Greil and Dejan Petrovic replaced Aleksa Pejic and Roman Kerschbaum, and the latter fired a warning shot from distance just after the restart. Ferdy Druijf also tried his hand in the following move, but his shot on goal was well-watched by the LASK goalkeeper (48’). Four minutes later, the same striker went one better and produced a moment of quality. Druijf took down a Jonas Auer cross with the outside of his boot before finding the net to pull a goal back; 2-1 (52’)! It took less than two minutes before the next big chance came along - a Koscelnik cross was misjudged by the home keeper, but Marco Grüll's header could not punish the mistake with a quickfire equaliser. Grüll was wearing the captain’s armband for this game, and he and his teammates showed a completely different face in the second half, compared to the disjointed performance before the interval.

With the introductions of Berni Zimmermann, Ante Bajic and Nicolas Kühn, Rapid were aiming to add enough firepower to keep up the momentum on the comeback trail, yet the glimmers of hope faded late in the game, when former Rapid man Filip Stojkovic fired low into the corner to make it 3-1 to LASK (81’). The hosts then saw out the game in a professional manner, giving Rapid no way back into the match before the whistle blew after 98 minutes. Unfortunately, the passive first half display could not be rectified in the second half, and LASK extended their advantage over Rapid by moving seven points ahead in the ADMIRAL Bundesliga standings. 

ADMIRAL Bundesliga | 26. Runde | Raiffeisen Arena

Tore: Zulj (10.), Zulj (34.), Druijf (52.), Stojkovic (81.)

Rapid-11: Hedl - Koscelnik, Sollbauer, Moormann, Auer - Kerschbaum (46. Petrovic), Pejic (46. Greil) - Strunz (69. Bajic), Oswald, Grüll (C) (76. Kühn) - Druijf (69. Zimmermann)

Ersatz: Unger, Wimmer, Kühn, Petrovic, Greil, Bajic, Zimmermann

Die Stimmen nach dem Spiel