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Ljubicic leads LASK to victory against Salzburg with hattrick

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In an impressive manner, LASK made a comeback: The Linz-based team defeated league leaders RB Salzburg with a stellar performance in front of 13,800 spectators at the Raiffeisen Arena, winning 3-1. Marin Ljubicic emerged as the man of the match, contributing all three goals.

With three changes compared to the previous week, interim head coach Thomas Darazs sent his team onto the field. Philipp Ziereis, Valon Berisha, and Florian Flecker replaced Maksym Talovierov, Elias Havel, and the injured Sascha Horvath in the starting eleven. After an initial scare just seconds into the game when Sekou Koita found himself alone in front of Tobias Lawal but narrowly missed the goal, LASK presented a strong performance. Besides displaying high intensity and tactical discipline off the ball, the players became increasingly bold in possession as the game progressed.

Their efforts paid off for the first time after 18 minutes. Following a foul on Filip Stojkovic in the penalty area and a subsequent on-field review by referee Alexander Harkam, he pointed to the penalty spot. Marin Ljubicic took responsibility and coolly converted to give LASK the lead! The Croatian striker's first Bundesliga goal since December 2023 boosted his confidence significantly, which he utilized productively again just eight minutes later. After continuous buildup play followed by a diagonal switch to George Bello, Florian Flecker delivered the ball into the middle, where Ljubicic increased the lead to 2-0 with the inside of his foot. The 22-year-old's sixth goal of the season, who almost added a third after 36 minutes but this time narrowly missed the target.

Ljubicic crowned his performance

The first opportunities in the second half were also created by LASK. After a quick counterattack, a three-on-two situation emerged, but Flecker's attempt went wide of the goal (54th minute). Three minutes later, he placed a direct shot beside the goal as well. LASK remained extremely solid in defense, staying aggressive in tackles and keeping the league leaders largely away from their own penalty area.

In the 73rd minute, our number nine delivered another standout moment, completing his outstanding performance with a hat-trick: Bello won the ball, the American squared it to Ljubicic, who fired a left-footed shot into the net for the third time - 3-0! Six minutes before the end, Dorgeles Nene's goal brought some tension back into the final phase with the score at 3-1. However, LASK defended the Salzburg attacks consistently and passionately, ultimately celebrating their first home victory against RB since 2018.

LASK - RB Salzburg 3:1 (2:0)
Raiffeisen Arena, 13,800, Referee: Harkam
1:0 Ljubicic (18./Pen.), 2:0 Ljubicic (26.), 3:0 Ljubicic (73.), 3:1 Dorgeles (84.)
Yellow Cards:
Andrade (70.), Jovicic (77.), Lawal (93.); Gourna-Douath (27.)

LASK Lineup: Lawal – Ziereis (C), Andrade, Luckeneder – Stojkovic, Berisha (85th Talovierov), Jovicic, Bello – Flecker (85th Pintor), Ljubicic (80th Havel), Usor (80th Taoui)

I am immensely proud of the team and delighted with our performance. We conceded little defensively and consistently won the ball back effectively. Moreover, we often found the right solutions in possession, although I still aspire to see even more improvement in that aspect in the future. Today, the team demonstrated its potential, and we rewarded ourselves with a well-deserved victory. However, today must only be the beginning.

Thomas Darazs, Head Coach