WAC took fifth place in the Bundesliga with an away win at Sturm Graz
The Carinthians prevailed 2-1 late three days after their Europa League appearance against Tottenham on Sunday afternoon in Graz. The Styrians, who were outnumbered from the 35th minute on, were not rewarded for their fight and lost two league games in a row in the 18th round for the first time this season.
Dominik Baumgartner gave the guests the lead (28th), which Ivan Ljubic compensated for after the exclusion of goalie Jörg Siebenhandl due to an emergency brake (43rd). Dario Vizinger “released” the guests with the winning goal in the 90th minute.
Both coaches rebuilt their starting XI. Jon Gorenc-Stankovic and Kevin Friesenbichler were absent from Sturm due to adductor problems. On the Merkur Arena lawn, which is hardly suitable for the Bundesliga, Sturm tried it out with Bekim Balaj next to the recovered Jakob Jantscher and, accordingly, more high balls. Access Kelvin Yeboah initially sat on the bench.
WAC coach Ferdinand Feldhofer brought four fresh players into the starting line-up after losing the first leg of the sixteenth-finals of the Europa League against Tottenham (1: 4) in Budapest. Michael Liendl came off the bench for the third time in the last four league games (from 55th).
The guests nailed their heads in an uneventful phase: Baumgartner headed in the 28th minute after a free-kick flank to make it 1-0.
Seven minutes later, the game finally seemed to tip in favor of the WAC. Siebenhandl brought Joveljic down in front of the penalty area and was sent off by referee Markus Hameter. David Nemeth had previously lost the running duel with the Frankfurt loan. As in the first spring duel (0-0), Graz were outnumbered early on against WAC.
Tobias Schützenauer came – instead of a defender (Amadou Dante) – for his first league appearance in the Sturm-Tor since August 2018. His front men reared up for an urgent finish in the first half, which Ljubic crowned with his fifth goal of the season.
The former U21 team player took over a Jantscher corner in the back room with a placed noble scooter in the long corner (43rd). Shortly before, Michael Novak had blocked a Balaj shot with his arm. Hameter let the game go on.
The numerical difference on the field was only noticeable in the final phase after the break. Sturm even had better chances at first. Stefan Hierländer tested Alexander Kofler twice (47th, 68th) in the WAC goal. Feldhofer made another offensive change and his team pushed Sturm deeper and deeper into their own half in the last 20 minutes. A division of points was on the horizon, but in the 90th minute a blocked ball jumped at Vizinger’s feet, who fixed his second WAC league victory in a row with a precise finish.
(Conclusion) med / ttr