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Allianz Stadion, October 31st 2021
Despite a battling performance, LASK were defeated by SK Rapid Wien in a dramatic match in Hütteldorf. The Linzers had gone into an early lead via Thomas Goiginger, but a brace from Ercan Kara overturned the deficit heading into the final minutes. Marco Grüll’s stunning late free-kick added a third for the hosts, and although LASK clawed a goal back via Luckeneder there simply wasn’t enough time for an equaliser.
Traditionally one of Austria’s biggest games, the 157th meeting between SK Rapid Wien and LASK took place under slightly different circumstances with both in the lower half of the table before kick-off. Both clubs enjoyed wins in Europe and the ÖFB Cup over the last few days, but a victory was much needed for their Bundesliga fortunes. LASK had a sizable injury list heading in with Petar Filipovic, Philipp Wiesinger, Dario Maresic and Yannis Letard all missing in defence, Florian Flecker and Husein Balic out with illness and Marko Raguž also absent.
On a crisp evening in the Austrian capital Andi Wieland’s side started on top with Lukas Grgic firing an effort wide within the opening minute, James Holland’s lashing over from distance and Sascha Horvath finding space after breakaway attack but saw his underpowered strike well saved.
The bright opening was rewarded in the 18th minute with Goiginger putting the visitors into the lead. Quick thinking from Rene Renner and Peter Michorl saw the latter go deep into the area from a throw-in, laying up Jan Boller who saw his driven shot saved but Goiginger was quick to pounce on the rebound to fire in for a deserved lead.
Gartler was forced into action quickly after with the Linzers on the counter via Mamoudou Karamoko, the Frenchman shrugging off the defender and shooting directly at the Rapid keeper. The best Rapid could muster in the opening half an hour was a glancing header from captain Maximilian Hofmann, with the home crowd not having much to shout about.
LASK came centimetres from a second in the 36th minute as Felix Luckeneder headed onto the crossbar and Karamoko saw his chance deflected wide for a corner – a huge opportunity for the visitors. Heading into the half-time break Rapid Wien found another gear and should’ve equalised after Robert Ljubicic cushioned the ball beautifully into Hofmann but the Rapid captain headed over from close range.
The Linz outfit couldn’t hold on until the break and conceded after a wonderfully worked combination from Marco Grüll and Kara unleashed the Austria international behind the defensive line and calmly dispatching into the bottom corner.
Taxi Fountas was in a hurry to add a second and only a sensational diving save from Alex Schlager denied the Greek striker as we entered the break level.
The first big chance of the second half fell to Hyun-seok Hong who was almost certain to score but the important intervention of Emanuel Aiwu denied the South Korean. Rapid replied with Kelvin Arase’s powerful attempt seeing Schlager save one-handed over the bar.
The two heavyweights traded blows with Michorl seeing a daisy-cutter saved by Gartler, Fountas firing over the crossbar and Karamoko almost manufacturing a goal but the Hütteldorf side scrambled the ball wide.
In the 70th minute LASK were awarded a penalty after Filip Stojkovic was adjudged to have fouled Karamoko, but after a long VAR wait referee Alan Kijas overturned his own call. It was Rapid who had to feel the heat of the officials directly after with Fountas’ goal chalked off for offside.
Unfortunately for the visitors, the next goal was without doubt as Ercan Kara rose highest from a Thorsten Schick free-kick to head the ball into the bottom corner to put the Hütteldorfers ahead with only 12 minutes to go.
Despite the best efforts of LASK to get back into the game, the hosts added a third via an astounding Grüll free-kick from 30 yards that cannoned in off the woodwork and by the outstretched hand of Schlager.
A minute later Boller struck a stunning set piece that hit the bar but Luckeneder was there in the right position to score and give us a grandstand finish – but LASK couldn’t find an equaliser and suffered another league defeat.
LASK will next be in action against Armenian champions Alashkert in the UEFA Europa Conference League on Thursday evening.
By Simon Clark from The Other Bundesliga (@OtherBundesliga)
SK Rapid Wien: Gartler; Stojkovic, Hofmann (Schick 46‘), Aiwu, Ullmann; Grahovac, Ljubicic, Arase (Ballo 72‘), Fountas (Auer 90‘), Grüll, Kara (Moormann 85‘)
Subs: Hedl, Knasmüllner, Oswald
Goals: Kara 41‘, 78‘, Grüll 87‘
LASK: Schlager; Potzmann (Griger 86‘), Boller, Luckeneder, Renner, Grgic, Holland (Hong 17‘), Horvath (Nakamura 61‘), Michorl, Goiginger, Karamoko
Subs: Gebauer, Gruber, Wild, Softic
Goals: Goiginger 18‘, Luckeneder 89‘