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Late show in Vienna ensures Salzburg return home victorious

Thursday 2nd October 2014
Two late goals from Massimo Bruno and Alan gave Red Bull Salzburg a thoroughly deserved victory over Rapid Vienna. Having dominated the game, it took Salzburg until the 84th minute to break the deadlock, when substitute Bruno turned on the edge of the area and fired into the bottom corner. Alan doubled the lead five minutes later, a goal which proved necessary when Rapid substitute Philipp Prosenik scored his first goal of the season.
Before the match began, my focus had been on the reaction of the Rapid fans towards Salzburg, one of Red Bull's European teams. This interest had been sparked by Union Berlin beating Red Bull Leipzig in the German second tier the week before; following this victory, there were hundreds of comments on the Union Berlin Facebook page from fans all over the country thanking the team for beating a Red Bull team, with comments ranging from ‘you have done football a huge favour' to others which should not be printed here, demonstrating the general feeling of loathing to a Red Bull team.

However, when I asked my friends in Austria what they thought of Red Bull Salzburg, I was met with a much more apathetic reaction. Part of this came down to the fact that Salzburg is Austria's only team in Europe; some people said they would want Salzburg to win in Europe, but weren't too bothered when it came to the Bundesliga.

This more moderate view was certainly not shared by the Rapid Vienna fans. As well as banners saying ‘no to Red Bull' and songs directed at the club, torrents of abuse were hurled at Marcel Sabitzer, a former Rapid player. Sabitzer, currently on loan from Red Bull Leipzig, left Rapid at the end of last season, and received a distinctly unfriendly reception before being withdrawn in the 84th minute.
The Rapid fans were in fine voice throughout the game; unfortunately for them, their team were not able to channel this vociferous support into their performance. From the off, Salzburg – despite having lost their last three league games – looked confident and purposeful, while the home side struggled to retain possession, with passes often going astray or taking the form of hopeful punts forward. The first real moment of danger was provided by Salzburg Valentino Lazaro full-back, but his cross was cleared. However, soon afterwards, the visitors created the first good chance of the match, with skipper Soriano's header being saved by Jan Novota.

Despite dominating possession, Die Roten Bullen did not create many clear openings in the first half hour, with Soriano's effort from distance their only other moment of note in that period. The longer the half went on, however, the more dangerous they became, and Christoph Leitgeb should have scored when in one-on-one with Novota. Following a Rapid corner, Salzburg broke quickly, and Kevin Kampl's pass found Leitgeb who had the pace to get away from the home defence, but having done the hard part, he lacked the composure to finish past Novota.

Home skipper Steffen Hofmann came closest for the Die Grün-Weißen in the opening period, but his shot deflected just wide. Rapid looked toothless in attack, and Salzburg continued to probe in the second half. Forward Alan had a very presentable chance early in the second period, but could only volley wide from an inviting cross, while Stefan Schwab's deflected shot was the best that the home side could muster.

Just as the game looked to be drifting towards a draw, Salzburg manager Adolf Hütter introduced Bruno. It turned out to be an inspired change, as the attacker's first action was to receive the ball on the edge of the area, turn and finish into the far corner. Alan's goal made the game safe soon afterwards. As Rapid pushed forwards for an equaliser, the ball broke down in midfield, and Kampl's cross left Alan with the simple task of finishing into an empty net and running off to celebrate in front of the tiny pocket of travelling fans. Prosenik's goal deep into stoppage time, getting on the end of a flick from Mario Sonnleitner, proved to be nothing but a consolation, as Salzburg opened up a six point gap with their hosts. AC Wolfsberger continue to lead the pack, and are three points ahead of the Red Bull club. Given their huge financial resources, it would be a shock if it were still that way come the end of the season.
Will Brown
Huge football fan, also a follower of tennis, cricket and athletics. Student at Durham University, where I study German and Spanish. Coventry City (live near Coventry during University holidays) and Union Berlin fan, after spending the summer of 2013 in Berlin. Currently living in Graz, Austria, and watching GAK 1902 from time to time.

Total articles: 14

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