Sturm Graz became the first pursuer to shorten the gap to league leaders Red Bull Salzburg in the Bundesliga to eight points. At the end of the first half of the regular season in the Merkur Arena, the Styrians prevailed against Ried 1-0 (1-0) on Sunday and thus returned to winning ways after two competitive defeats. The cushion of Graz on the third WAC is already eight points after eleven laps.
Mainly responsible for this was Jakob Jantscher (32nd) with his sixth goal of the season. The home side could look forward to a successful dress rehearsal in front of 8,109 spectators before the Europa League home game against the Spanish LaLiga table leaders Real Sociedad on Thursday. Jantscher and Co. hope for the first points in the third attempt. The team from Innviertel remained without a win in the league for the fifth time in a row, after the 1-1 draw against Klagenfurt, Christian Heinle was on the sidelines for the second time as a representative of the sick Andreas Heraf as a coach. Ried is in good shape as fifth, but has only four points more than bottom of the table WSG Tirol.
The Rieder could only make the initial phase balanced in Graz, as the ex-Graz Seifedin Chabbi also missed the only good chance of the guests due to a Affengruber error (12th). After that, coach Christian Ilzer’s squad clearly dominated the action, developing an increase of 13-2 shots in the first half. Samuel Sahin-Radlinger defused a Gazibegovic long-range shot (14th), Jantscher shot into the clouds from the best position, as the ball had jumped slightly (16th), a shot by Stefan Hierländer was blocked (23rd) and with a direct decrease Anderson Niangbo wasn’t missing much (31st).
A minute later the spell was finally broken. Jon Gorenc-Stankovic and Kelvin Yeboah each won their header duel, Jantscher also took the ball with his shoulder, made Constantin Reiner look old with a catch and hit the Sahin-Radlinger who had come out of the goal.
After the break, little changed in the game, Sturm stayed on the trigger, but failed to make things clear with a second goal. Gregory Wüthrich headed over it (61st), Hierländer only hit the outside netting (78th), Manprit Sarkaria put the ball over it (89th). Nevertheless, the home side were able to rehabilitate themselves for the 3-2 defeat in Hartberg immediately before the league break. (APA / Red)