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Soccer Festival in Linz: LASK celebrates great victory against Rapid

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Goosebump atmosphere in the Raiffeisen Arena! With a 5-0 rout, LASK dispatched SK Rapid in front of 17,000 spectators, thus setting the record for the highest victory in Bundesliga history against the Hütteldorfers. Marin Ljubicic with a brace, Sascha Horvath, Florian Flecker, and Adil Taoui with his debut goal led the Athletikers to a memorable afternoon and an important step towards third place.

LASK made one change from their 2-1 away victory against Hartberg last Wednesday, with Maksym Talovierov stepping in for the yellow-card suspended Philipp Ziereis in the back four. Sascha Horvath wore the captain's armband for the second time. The early stages saw a bit of mutual probing as both teams sought spaces in attack without taking undue risks. As the game progressed, the Athletikers gradually seized control of the proceedings.

After 26 minutes, the Athletikers posed a real threat to the opponent's goal with a double chance. Florian Flecker's quick turn ended with a shot hitting the post, and Roman Kerschbaum of Rapid blocked Adil Taoui's follow-up with his arm, prompting referee Christopher Jäger to point to the spot immediately after reviewing the TV footage. Marin Ljubicic calmly converted for his eighth goal of the season, making it 1-0 (31').

However, this was just the beginning of a flurry of goals that the Black and Whites unleashed within seven minutes. Andres Andrade sent Flecker on a breakaway after winning possession, and Flecker kept his composure against Rapid's goalkeeper Niklas Hedl, placing the ball perfectly into the far corner. Just two minutes later, Flecker set up youngster Taoui, who scored his first professional goal for the Athletikers with a follow-up effort in only his second start for the team!

LASK in goal-scoring mood

With a three-goal lead behind them, the Linz team seemed to be in a state of euphoria. This continued after the break: in the 56th minute, Horvath took a chance from about 18 meters out after a Taoui cross was cleared, and his slightly deflected shot found the net for 4-0! It was the 27-year-old's first goal of the season, and he voluntarily passed the captain's armband to substitute Felix Luckeneder after 64 minutes. But before that, there was more reason to celebrate: following a dream combination involving Moses Usor and the superbly performing Taoui, Ljubicic found the back of the net for the second time, making it 5-0 (60').

In the closing stages, LASK made several substitutions, including giving 18-year-old youngster Armin Haider his professional debut. The Raiffeisen Arena was already in celebration mode by then, and at the end of a magical football afternoon, the Athletikers sealed a 5-0 victory, surpassing the previous highest victory against Rapid from March 29, 1998. They now sit six points ahead of fourth-placed Hartberg and eight points clear of fifth-placed Rapid.

LASK - SK Rapid 5:0 (3:0)
Raiffeisen Arena, 17.000, Referee Jäger
Goals: 1:0 Ljubicic (31./E.), 2:0 Flecker (36.), 3:0 Taoui (38.), 4:0 Horvath (56.), 5:0 Ljubicic (60.)
Yellow Cards: Stojkovic (68.); Sattlberger (41.), Kerschbaum (47.), Kasanwirjo (68.), Lang (87.)

Line-up LASK: Lawal – Stojkovic, Andrade, Talovierov, Bello (82. Ba) – Berisha (65. Luckeneder), Horvath (K/82. Haider), Taoui (71. Pintor) – Usor, Ljubicic, Flecker

I'm very proud of the team; we delivered an impressive performance. After taking the lead, almost everything went our way today, and the team showcased its quality. We've taken an important step towards our goal, but it's crucial for us to keep pushing and build on this next week.

Thomas Darazs, Head Coach