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Spielbericht, UNIQA ÖFB Cup, Profis

The Final Chapter has no Happy End

Wednesday 1st May was a special day for fans of SK Rapid, not just because of the national holiday, but also because the Green & Whites headed to Klagenfurt’s Wörthersee Stadium to take part in a fourth ÖFB Cup Final in the last seven years.

Having lost 15 and won 14 of Rapid’s 29 previous appearances in the showpiece finale, this time - in our 30th final - it was a repeat of 12 months ago, and another chance to take revenge on last year’s winners SK Sturm Graz by winning Rapid’s 15th Cup, and first since 1995.

Guido Burgstaller was back with the captain’s armband, as he led out a team featuring amongst others Nenad Cvetković, Leo Querfeld, and the departing Marco Grüll, who was as desperate to win a trophy with Rapid as the amazing 15,000 fans who came down to Carinthia for the big game. The match began as expected, with both sides pumped up and fighting hard for every metre of the Klagenfurt turf. Isak Jansson danced down the right for the first big moment of the final, and although he was stopped after breaking into the box (3’), the resulting corner was close to bringing the first goal, as Matthias Seidl’s delivery was headed just wide by Cvetković at the far post (4’). Robert Klauß then had to react to an unfortunate injury for Jonas Auer, on in his place came Moritz Oswald (15’) but the game plan remained the same.

Just before the 20 minute mark, Niki Hedl was called into action for the first time, making a quick double save to deny Sturm at his near post (19’), but back up the other end, Lukas Grgić got the ball on the left in the area and squared it to Jansson at the near post, only to see his side-footed shot fly wide by just centimetres, agonisingly ending up only in the side-netting (25’)! The first half as a whole was punctuated by many physical duels, fouls and hard challenges, and Nana Kasanwirjo was on the end of one of these; requiring treatment after a boot to the face (40’), but luckily he was cleared to continue. Rapid had created the better chances so far, and eventually, that paid off, as Grüll slipped past several defenders with a fine run into the danger zone. He nearly scored a stunning solo goal, but as his effort was saved, in came Matthias Seidl to slot in the rebound and delight the green half of the ground (44’)! The break soon came around, and the momentum was on our side, as we went in deservedly 1-0 to the good.

Matthias Seidl’s strike put Rapid ahead, but ultimately it was not quite enough. © GEPA

We expected Sturm to come out of the blocks with a renewed intensity for the second half, and they certainly did that. Hedl had to make an early save to preserve the lead (47’), but soon after, a corner kick routine came to David Affengruber at the far post, and his header was unfortunately deflected over the line at close range by Leo Querfeld, leaving our keeper with no chance to make the save (49’). The game tightened up again, and Burgstaller volleyed one half-chance over the top (57’) but it was Sturm who threatened more from the set-pieces. They had the ball in the net again from right on the back post, but this time it had clearly hit a hand on the way in; no goal (66’).

Cvetković and Sattlberger were then replaced by Terence Kongolo and Roman Kerschbaum (71’) but with the game remaining close and perhaps heading towards extra time, Sturm struck a bitter blow from nowhere as the ball fell kindly loose at the feet of Tomi Horvat in the Rapid area; 2-1 to Sturm (81’). Furkan Dursun came on for Grgić as a final throw of the dice (87’), but despite earning several corner kicks and keeping the ball near the Sturm goal, nothing would go into the net and change the result in Rapid’s favour.

After a great deal of anticipation and emotion at reaching another final, the defeat is a painful one to stomach, but the lads gave it their all. We’ve faced set-backs before, and we’ll face them again, but one thing is for sure: SK RAPID WILL COME BACK STRONGER.

 Fotos: GEPA


UNIQA ÖFB-Cup | Finale | Wörthersee Stadion

Tore: Seidl (44.), Querfeld (ET/50.); Horvat (81.)

Rapid-11: Hedl; Auer (14. Oswald), Cvetković (71. Kongolo), Querfeld, Kasanwirjo; Grgić (87. Dursun), Sattlberger (71. Kerschbaum); Grüll, Seidl, Jansson; Burgstaller © 

Ersatz: Gartler, Unger, Kerschbaum, Lang, Schick, Kongolo, Mayulu, Sollbauer, Hofmann, Kaygin, Oswald, Dursun