The aptly named ‘No Worries Arena’ became the battlefield in which Rapid Vienna Head Coach Damir Canadi not only lost the battle, but also lost the war. The 46-year-old Vienna native who only joined the Green and Whites in November, lasted just 16 games in charge, with a humiliating 3:0 defeat to bottom of the table Ried prompting Rapid management to relieve him of his duties, at least until the end of the season.
From the outset it was Ried who took the game to the visitors. Dieter Elsneg – who continued to deputise on the left due to Mathias Honsak’s injury – capitalised on a mistake from Christoph Schößwendter in only the third minute of the game, but was unable to find Orhan Ademi who only needed to get a touch to put the Vikings in front.
Half an hour later, Canadi, who had begun with a makeshift back-three due to the struggling Maximilian Hofmann, took the decision to haul off Schößwendter to replace him with Mario Sonnleitner, who had been unfortunate not to return to the starting eleven following illness in midweek himself.
There was certainly no love lost between Canadi and Schößwendter as they did not even shake hands as the defender left the field of play. Sports Director Fredy Bickel subsequently highlighted Canadi’s ability of trying to “force too much” – and this seemed to be one of those occasions.
Canadi told Sky: “I wanted to protect him (Schößwendter), I did not want to hurt him… unfortunately Schössi did not grow into the game and after the first mistake, he showed a lot of uncertainty, we did not have any stability at all”.
It was a decision that would not pay off.
The final chance of the half went the way of the hosts as Patrick Möschl met a fine set piece from former Rapid midfielder Stefan Nutz, heading past Tobias Knoflach in the Rapid net. However, referee Dominik Ouschan brought play back for an apparent infringement on Maximilian Wöber, although replays indicated the Austria U19 regular may have tripped over his own feet.
Within 20 seconds of the restart however, Ried got their deserved goal. Möschl, who has been Ried’s stand-out player in recent weeks, managed to get past Wöber and fire in a dangerous cross which Ademi met with a powerful header. Ademi’s effort was well saved by Knoflach but Elsneg was there to fire home the rebound.
Celebration turned to concern as in the build-up to the goal, Ademi and Sonnleitner had suffered a clash of heads, with both players requiring treatment.
Both sides were ultimately forced to make changes, leaving Rapid Vienna with no more substitutions left after they had already made their second alteration during half-time by bringing on Georgian international Giorgi Kvilitaia for Tamás Szántó.
Less than ten minutes later and the tie was over. Möschl, again involved, saw his set piece reach a completely unmarked Peter Žulj who fired in with a delightful left-footed volley to double Ried’s lead. The Upper Austrians were not finished and after Knoflach spilled a comfortable long-range effort from Žulj, right-back Florian Hart was there to calmly give his side a three goal cushion.
Rapid, who are without a league win since December 2016, (incidentally coming at home to Ried), pushed to bring respectability to the scoreline, but aside from forcing one fine save from Reuf Duraković, the Green and Whites looked bereft of ideas and confidence, registering only two shots on target the entire game.
The full-time whistle highlighted the stark contrast in emotions across both teams. Whilst Ried were jubilant having at least temporarily brought themselves within a point of their closest relegation rivals, Rapid, who slipped within five points of the relegation place with eight games still to go, remained on the field, berated by their travelling supporters. Most knew then that Damir Canadi was on borrowed time.
The question on everyone’s lips, though: could Rapid Vienna be relegated for the first time in their history? Have your say, vote here:
8 games to go in the Austrian Bundesliga, Rapid Vienna are only 5 points clear of the relegation place. Tell me, will they get relegated?
— Tim Armitage (@FRfussballTim) April 9, 2017
Tim Armitage (Austrian Bundesliga Analyst)
Follow Tim on Twitter @FRfussballTim for some fantastic insight and the latest news on all things Austrian football.
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