17.03.2019 19:32
Team, Bundesliga, Hartberg, Match report

Hartberg draw leaves Rapid in lower half of play-offs

To keep alive hopes of qualifying for the top half of the play-offs, Rapid simply had to defeat Hartberg in Vienna on Sunday. Not only was a win required, but a big one that might help effect a swing in goal difference should it be required. Knowing what was required, the Green & Whites exploded into life straight from kick-off, with their early pressure rewarded with a penalty: Christoph Knasmüllner was impeded in the box by Hartberg keeper Swete. Stefan Schwab did the rest, converting the spot-kick to put Rapid ahead - 1:0 (4.). Rapid continued to pour forwards in the search of more goals, and a second nearly arrived just minutes later when Max Hofmann got on the end of a Philipp Schobesberger cross to threaten the goal (6.). The pressure continued as Mario Sonnleitner went close with a header (7.), before Hartberg registered themselves in the match as an attacking force when Richard Strebinger was called upon to keep out a deflected shot (13.).

Up until the half an hour mark, Rapid lost their momentum somewhat and invited too much pressure from the visitors. But with the opposition growing in confidence, the Hütteldorfers doubled their advantage: A shot from Schobesberger rebounded off bodies before rolling perfectly to Thomas Murg, who slid the ball into an empty net - 2:0 (29.)! The half-time whistle went with Rapid deservedly in the lead but also in the knowledge that they needed to find more goals in the second period.

 

The second half began in promising fashion: A header from Schwab went just wide (48.), before a good shot from Schobesberger drew a smart save from Swete (54.). But as Rapid upped the ante and looked to press on, the match crumbled around them. Firstly, a powerful shot from Flecker was saved by Strebinger, but the Rapid keeper pushed the ball onto Max Hofmann and it bounced off the defender and trickled over the line 1:2 (55.). Worse was to follow as Hartberg broke, Rep fed Huber, who beat Strebinger to pull Hartberg back on terms out of the blue - 2:2 (58.). The 19,200 strong crowd looked on in disbelief as hopes of making the cut began to evaporate.

A shot from Grahovac was saved by the Swete, while a header from Max Hofmann went just the wrong side of the far post as Rapid desperately searched for another goal. But as time drifted away it slowly became clear that the necessary margin of victory was going to remain elusive. There were chances for either side in the closing minutes, with substitute Andrei Ivan rattling the crossbar as the game moved into injury time (90.), but the draw was far too little for Rapid, who find themselves marooned in the lower half of the play-offs.

(gw)

 

tipico Bundesliga, 22nd round:
SK Rapid - TSV Hartberg 2:2 (2:0)
Allianz Stadion, 19.200 Attendance, Ref Schüttengruber

Goals: 1:0 Schwab (5./Penalty), 2:0 Murg (29.), 2:1 Hofmann (54./Own Goal), 2:2 Huber (57.);

SK Rapid: Strebinger – Müldür, Sonnleitner, Hofmann, Bolingoli – Grahovac, Schwab – Murg (77./Berisha), Knasmüllner (58./Ivan), Schobesberger – Pavlovic (58./Badji);

Hartberg: Swete – Blauensteiner, Huber, Siegl, Rasswalder – Flecker, Kainz (69./Skenderovic), Cancola (83./Sittsam), Tschernegg, Ilic (76./Sanogo) – Rep;

Yellow Cards: Bolingoli, Sonnleitner, Badji; Swete, Flecker, Cancola, Blauensteiner