Bundesliga Matchday 14 WAC – LASK
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Lavanttal Arena, 27th January 2021
LASK produced a dominant display to win comfortably on the road against Wolfsberger AC and keep in touch with the rest of the Bundesliga’s top four teams. Three second half goals did the damage as the Black and Whites returned to winning ways in style on Wednesday evening.
With LASK looking to bounce back from a defeat to WSG in the opening game of 2021, the next task was to take on fellow Europa League participants Wolfsberger AC. The Carinthians went into the game unbeaten since they also suffered defeat at the hands of WSG back in early December. A run of four wins and two draws in all competitions made for good form, but two successive 0-0 draws for WAC in January’s Bundesliga fixtures didn’t point to a game that would be full of goals. From LASK’s perspective the loss to WSG was a blow in a very tight top four battle, but September’s meeting with WAC provided some hope for this midweek match, as the Black and Whites ran out 3-1 winners in Linz on that occasion.
The game began with the temperature hovering just above freezing, and with no fans in attendance the on-field action would have to provide the heat. Aside from a dangerous LASK corner, there were few chances of note until Peter Michorl kept Kofler’s hands warm with a snapshot on the volley midway through the half. Andreas Gruber was the next to try his luck from range, but his shot didn’t dip enough to test keeper Kofler. The best chance of the half was another one for the guests; just after the half-hour mark a teasing cross from the byline fell to Ranftl who fired in low, but saw his shot gathered at the second attempt.
It took until the second half for WAC to register a shot on target, but Liendl’s attempt was simple for Schlager to gather. At the other end, LASK continued to assert their dominance, but this time with a more potent end product. Five minutes after the restart Trauner intercepted the ball in his own area and slid a devastating direct pass through the centre. With plenty still to do, Gruber rounded Kofler and capped-off the counter attack with an angled finish to edge LASK in front! Ten minutes later, Gruber was on target again to double the advantage. A bouncing throw-in was missed by the home defence, allowing Eggestein to tap the ball to his teammate who made it 2-0 from close range.
The game wasn’t over though, as the hosts suddenly sprang to life. Schlager had to make a reflex stop to tip the ball over the bar after a dangerous Liendl delivery, and from the resulting corner Baumgartner’s header required another athletic diving save to preserve the advantage. LASK’s defensive efforts gave the attackers a chance to kill the game off, and they did just that when James Holland pounced on a short clearance to arrow a volley into the corner of the net with ten minutes to go. He tried his luck again from further out five minutes later, but this time the post denied the Australian what would have been his third goal of the week. Nonetheless, three goals and three points were plenty enough for LASK to stay in touch near the top, and a determined away performance paid off handsomely for Dominik Thalhammer’s team in this clash between two of last season’s top four.
Wolfsberger AC: Kofler; Scherzer, Lochoshvili, Baumgartner, Novak; Sprangler (Stratznig 57’), Leitgeb (Wernitznig 73’), Taferner (Dieng 57’); Liendl; Vizinger (Röcher 54’), Joveljic.
Yellow cards: Sprangler 5’; Leitgeb 67’
LASK: Schlager; Andrade, Trauner, Wiesinger; Renner, Michorl, Holland (Madsen 88’), Ranftl; Goiginger (Balic 57’), Eggestein, Gruber (Reiter 72’).
Yellow card: Ranftl 29’
Goals: Gruber 50’, 60’; Holland 79’
by Tom Middler from The Other Bundesliga