CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Friday, September 21, 2012
Rapid Vienna vs Rosenborg
Europa League - Thursday September 20, 2012
Ernst Hapoel Stadium
Rosenborg dashed Rapid's hopes of a Europa League win at home, capitalizing on sloppy defending to get the two goals and three points to take an early lead in Group K action.
Tarik Elyounoussi and Mikael Dorsin notched goals within an hour for the visitors. Markus Katzer tried to spark a comeback with a header, but a thwarted Deni Alar penalty left Rapid ruing their missed chances.
It was an American summit as well with Rapid's Terrence Boyd and Rosenborg's Mikkel Diskerud each getting the start. The two were last on the field together last March in U.S. Men's National Team jerseys during Olympic qualifying.
The game played out in the eerie emptiness of Vienna's Happel Stadion devoid of fans, except journalists, 75 staff and players on the host's side, and a contingent of 200 Norwegian guests. Rapid was serving a one-game stadium ban after rioting before kickoff during their qualifier at PAOK Thessaloniki last August.
Both sides exchanged possession in the opening minutes, and within a minute in Rapid organized their offense. Captain Steffen Hofmann found Muhammed Ildiz for a sprint down right side, and a feed back to the captain. From just in the box the German veteran tried to cross for Boyd but couldn't connect.
Then, Diskerud de-iced the Rosenborg offense with nice run through the midfield to find Rade Prica in the box, but the Swede couldn't control the ball.
Rapid began to control the tempo and worked downfield once until Rosenborg cleared, then once again via Markus Katzer on the left side, whose cross dropped dangerously in the box, but the Trondheimers were able to clear.
In the 8th minute Bulgarian referee Stanislav Toridov issued his first of four yellow cards to the Nordic side, this one for Daniel Fredheim Holm for tripping up Guido Burgstaller. The ensuing free kick from Mario Sonnleitner from distance fell straight to Swedish netminder Daniel Örlund.
By the 11th minute, Rapid looked in better form following a brilliant series of quick passes on the left side that set up an Ildiz pass into the box for Boyd, but Diskerud was there for the clearance.
However, Boyd finally saw his first touch a minute later after tapped a high cross down nicely, turning and glazing a shot off the left post. Only referee Toridov had whistled for a high boot on defender Tore Reginiussen, grounded but not maimed in the incident.
The hosts maintained their control in the 14th minute after Hofmann on the right at the midfield line found Burgstaller in the Rosenborg midfield. The Austrian shifted forward then right across the top of the box past Per Verner Rønning, and unleashed a shot, but straight into Örlund's hands.
Shortly after, Rosenborg saw their first potent opportunity after a long ball fell to Diskerrud, who nimbly flicked forward to Elyounoussi in the box. Rapid guardian Lukas Königshofer was already there with the scoop.
Winger Christopher Trimmel kept the Rosenborg defense on their toes with a try from 25 yards out that missed a yard right of the post.
Yet, the 18th minute saw Rapid turn routine defense into disaster. In the lead-up Prica drove one-on-one towards Sonnleitner and fell, coughing the ball out to Fredheim Holm. Already behind the Rapid defense, the Norwegian midfielder collided twice with Königshofer. Perhaps expecting a whistle, the Rapid defense tried to clear with Katzer feeding Gerson at the top of the box, but Prica dispossessed the Brazilian defender from behind and tapped over to Elyounoussi, who chipped nicely from the right corner of the box into the net for the surprise 1-0 lead, resulting in a few isolated cheers from the Norwegian delegation and players.
Looking a little rattled, Rapid tried to get Boyd involved in the attack in the 24th minute, when Deni Alar played a one-two with Boyd posted in the box, but Alar couldn't get a solid boot on the return pass.
Two minutes later Cristian Gamboa was whistled for foul on Ildiz, setting up a Hofmann delivery that Katzer could only head well over the bar.
Determined to stay in the game, Rapid got their ball control back together and worked down via Trimmil to Ildiz for a shot that sailed high over the bar.
The Norwegians continued to threaten when they could, and in the 32nd minute Prica on the right side found Diskerud with room at the top of the area for a blistering shot that Königshofer fumbled, but kept in front of him and collected.
Meanwhile Rapid were still having a hard time finding Boyd. He went down after vying for a header with Jonas Svensson, and hit the dirt. No yellow was given, but a purple bump instead. Ildiz ensuing free kick from 40 yards dribbled left wide of the net.
In much of the first half, Rapid worked their way down through the midfield with ease, but turned over possession due to an errant pass, or a delivery that was too far. Sometimes a series of crisp passes led to just one too many to the wrong boots. Or, as in the 41st minute, they maintained possession and orchestrated a wild effort from Trimmel towards the empty stands.
Boyd finally got a look on goal after Hoffman got the ball on right just over the midfield line, threaded a pass through the midfield to Burgstaller, who then relayed on to Boyd for the strike over the bar.
The American commited a professional foul in the 44th minute, pulling down Reginiussen in the midfield.
Rønning saw the second card of the evening for delay of game, after which both squads finished off the half in the midfield.
The second period resumed with the same unchanged eleven, and the same woes for Rapid. Loss of possession plagued them, allowing Rosenborg to maintain the pace of the affair in the opening five minutes.
Rapid finally slowed down and by the 53rd minute saw a good chance for Boyd, after Trimmel found the 21-year old in the box for a towering header over Reginiussen, but directly at Örlund.
Seemingly unable to find any solutions, Rapid captain Hofmann tried for himself in the 57th minute from 30 yards out, but was no where near the target. A minute later Burgstaller tried himself the same tactic with the same result.
In the 59th minute captain Mikael Dorsin seemed to take the game into his own hands bringing Rosenborg down the left side off the field, passing off to Fredheim Holm and back to him for the shot that required a quick wave of the glove from Königshofer.
On the ensuing corner from the left, Gerson, once again at the wrong place at the wrong time, mistimed his jump and left enough space for Dorsin to head home from a yard in front of the net for the shocking 2-0 lead after an hour.
Rapid immediately looked for a comeback making several drives into Rosenborg territory. In the 64th minute, Hoffman turned around nicely in midfield, evading Diskerud, and pulled the trigger on a shot just a foot left of the post.
Their perseverance finally paid off in the 66th minute after working the ball back to Ildiz who maneuvered his way through the midfield alone, and got off shot that was deflected, leading to an Alar corner from the right side that Katzer nodded home in the box while holding off Dockal.
Still looking for that equalizing goal, Rapid surged forward with Alar sprinting through the box after a loose ball. Swedish defender did his best to slide tackle, but taped Alar's foot, prompting Todorov to point to the spot and issue a yellow card.
Although Alar had displayed poise and aplomb in converting a penalty against FK Vojvodina, he aimed right and Örlund fell to his left to parry away. Örlund admitted after the match he hadn't prepared for the penalty. "No I had never seen [Alar] shoot a penalty before, or studied him on a video. I just made my mind up when he stepped up," the Swede conceded. "I went the right way."
Rapid boss Peter Schöttel made a quick substitution to get Thomas Prager on for Ildiz. Hofmann took the ensuing corner, which Burgstaller headed nicely towards goal from the front of the box, but directly at Örlund.
In the 73rd minute Jonas Svensson received the final caution of the night for bringing down Prager in the midfield.
Soon after, the silence and the shouts from the players and the thuds of the boots were replaced by the start of the 75th minute "Rapid Viertelstunde" for which the few locals in the stands commenced the traditional, quarter hour of clapping. It only lasted a minute.
While Rapid looked for an opening, Rosenborg skipper Jan Jönsson made his first subtitution in the 81st minute, bringing on Ole Kristian Selnaes for Daniel Fredheim Holm.
Several minutes of midfield play saw Rapid scrambling for solutions, like three minutes later when Trimmel delivered into the box for a Burgstaller header down to Boyd from the back of the box. Although Boyd controlled and turned nicely, his strike sailed high over the bar.
Schöttel again introduced fresh legs in the form of Lukas Grozurek for Burgstaller with five minutes to go.
Two minutes later Rapid saw a golden chance slip by, after Hoffman found Grozurek open at the top of the area. The Austrian forward turned and got off a shot, but directly at Örlund.
Rosenborg tried to catch the defence off guard with Elyounoussi finding Prica down left side for a shot from tight angle but into the side netting.
With only two minutes of extra time, Rapid simply ran out of ideas and Rosenborg fended off the pressure to gain vital points.
A content Diskerud exited for Steffen Iversen in the first minute of extra time.
Rapid's final play in the loss seemed to exemplify the bad luck of the evening, after Trimmel got off a pass from the right wing through the box, but found no green jersey there to tap home.
Diskerud was honest about his team's performance. "Well we didn't really play a great game. Today we won, and we're lucky. To be honest we didn't think we deserved to win today."
Boyd agreed, saying "I expected them to be much better than they were today."
Rapid boss Peter Schöttel had a different perspective. "I don't know if it was unlucky. We had a lot of control, but we also made many mistakes. And in the Europa League these get taken advantage of."
On whether the empty stadium affected the players Diskerud pointed out, "It was crazy, unreal. You think it's a friendly match, running around wondering where the supporters are. But maybe it came in our favor. Instead of them having 50,000 supporters at their back, we have 200.
As for Boyd, "it was awkward. With no one there, we just heard ourselves. It was good for our communication."
"I felt good, and the team controlled the whole game, created more chances," Boyd mentioned concerning his performance. "It's just a shame we lost. It's a good example of how football is not always fair.
The two meet again in Nordic conditions in Trondheim on Nov. 22. "Yeah, they are a good team," Diskerud had to say concerning Rapid. "I'm pretty sure that we're going to play significantly better in Trondheim, so they have to step it up as well."
In Europa League action on Oct. 4, Rapid face FC Metalist Kharkiv in Ukraine, while Rosenborg host Bayer Leverkusen.
As for league Rapid regroup at SV Ried on Sunday in the Austrian Bundesliga, while Rosenborg head to SK Brann.