25.11.2018 18:53
Bundesliga, Team, LASK, Match report

Lacklustre performance ends in defeat to Linz

For the first time in over a year, Philipp Schobesberger found himself back in the starting eleven on Sunday as Rapid welcomed high-flying LASK to the Allianz Stadium. Schobesberger's return to the line-up built on his substitute appearance just over two-weeks ago and represented but one of a handful of changes implemented by Head Coach Didi Kühbauer. One change was forced upon the Rapid boss, as Christoph Knasmüllner rushed to the hospital to be alongside his expectant wife. Into the line-up in his place came Deni Alar. Sitting pretty in second place in the table, LASK would provide a stern examination of recent Rapid improvement and wouldn’t easily yield the three points to the Hütteldorfers that would see them finally climb back into the top half of the table. The start of the match was a high-tempo affair, but Rapid managed to navigate the Linz high press with some attractive one-touch football.

The Green & Whites began to get some joy on the left as Schobesberger started to influence the game: a well-weighted pass from Stefan Schwab picked out the fleet-footed forward, whose cross was cleared by an under-pressure Linz defence (14.). A cross at the other end of the pitch threatened Richard Strebinger's goal but fizzed across the box finding no takers (17.). Just a minute later the game swung back towards the LASK penalty area, when a defence splitting pass found Andrija Pavlovic, whose chipped effort under pressure was scrambled clear by Linz keeper Schlager (18.). The Hütteldorfers continued to press: Schobesberger found Murg, who in turn fired a cross-come-shot across the goalmouth but beyond the reach of lurking Rapid forwards (24.). Kühbauer's side had made a promising start to what was proving an open and attractive match.

The first set back of the afternoon arrived on the half hour mark, when striker Pavlovic was forced off with a muscle injury. Veton Berisha came off the bench to go into one of the forward roles, with Alar pushing further up top as lone striker – a move which nearly paid dividends when he got on the end of an inviting cross - but he couldn't get the resulting header on target (42.). The half finished with the teams locked at 0-0 in an entertaining and absorbing encounter.

 

After a good first-half showing, it was surprising when a changed Rapid side emerged for the start of the second period and began ceding territory to LASK. Christopher Dibon didn't appear for the second forty-five - also owing to a muscle injury - and was replaced by Mateo Barac. The first chance of the half fell to Linz, as Goiginger drew a smart stop from Strebinger (49.). Schobesberger replied with a shot on goal for Rapid, who were again well in a game that looked like it could go either way. But almost on the drop of a hat, Linz took control and the Green & Whites’ attacking verve and passing football vanished almost without trace.

With Rapid floundering Linz capitalised: a breakdown in play turned possession over to LASK and the ball was quickly fed into Holland on the edge of the penalty area, who coolly picked his spot before stroking a shot past Strebinger and into the corner - 0:1 (54.). The goal rocked Rapid, who were constantly a yard off the pace all across the pitch. Joao Victor powered his way to the by-line before picking out Frieser in the box, who missed the far corner by a matter of inches (60.). The Brazilian was soon causing problems for the Hütteldorfers again, and it was only thanks to Strebinger rushing off his line to beat LASK's South American in a one-on-one situation that Rapid remained in the game (67.). The pressure was briefly relieved when a dipping effort from Marvin Potzmann nearly caught Schlager out (68.), but the game had started to become one-way traffic: Joao Victor (70., 74), Holland (72.) and Tetteh (76.) all went close, with only Rapid’s superb goalie keeping the score down after he pulled off a string of outstanding saves.

An impressive 17,600 fans waited in the rain-soaked stadium, hoping for a flash of inspiration from someone in Green & White to salvage a point that would've been somewhat flattering but welcome nonetheless. A long range shot from Murg that cleared the bar was the best Rapid could muster in the closing minutes (87.) as they slipped to a disappointing and deserved defeat. There will need to be a big improvement in the performance on against Spartak on Thursday if the Hütteldorfers are to take points from their trip to Moscow in the UEFA Europa League.

(gw)

 

tipico Bundesliga, 15th round:
SK Rapid - LASK 0:1 (0:0)
Allianz Stadion, 17.600 Attendance, Referee Gishamer

Goal: 0:1 Holland (54.);

SK Rapid: Strebinger – Potzmann, Sonnleitner, Dibon (46. Barac), Bolingoli – D. Ljubicic, Schwab – Murg, Alar, Schobesberger (72. Martic) – Pavlovic (33. Berisha);

LASK: A. Schlager – Ramsebner, Trauner, Wiesinger – Ranftl, Holland, Michorl (92. Pogatetz), Ullmann – Goiginger (85. Jamnig), Frieser (73. Tetteh), Joao Victor;

Yellow Cards: Sonnleitner, Barac;