A 2-1 win (H/T:0-0) against SK Rapid Vienna today gave FC Red Salzburg not only their fourth cup win in a row but also their fourth double - a unique feat in Austrian football! The Red Bulls' goals were scored by Hee Chan Hwang (52') and Valentino Lazaro (85').
FC Red Bull Salzburg: Stankovic – Laimer, Miranda, Wisdom, Ulmer (70' Schwegler) – Lazaro (90' Caleta-Car), Samassekou, Lainer, Berisha – Wanderson (83' Haidara), Hwang
SK Rapid Vienna: Knoflach - Pavelic, Dibon, Wöber, Schrammel - Auer, Szanto, Schwab (73' Traustason), Schaub (71' Kuen)- Murg (86' Schösswendter) - Joelinton
Lainer (17' foul) - Murg (74' foul)
situation going into the game
A win today would not only extend the Red Bulls' incredible run of unbeaten cup games (23 in a row), it would make history. Never before has an Austrian time managed to win four cup titles or four doubles in a row.
SK Rapid Vienna were sure to give everything they could to blemish Salzburg's remarkable record. "All the pressure is probably in Rapid, as this match is their only chance of qualifying for Europe next season. We need to be absolutely focused once again and ready to give everything in the final match of the season," said coach Oscar Garcia ahead of the final.
Even if a large part of the stadium were dressed in green and white tonight, around 2,000 fans of the Red Bulls made the journey from Salzburg to Klagenfurt on the ÖBB special train, which was sold out again this year.
Coach Oscar Garcia tried to devise a master plan for the Cup final in Klagenfurt. While the line-up appeared to be no surprise, as the match went on it became clear that a few players were playing in novel positions. It was a risky idea, but one that paid off spectacularly. Valon Berisha – who is usually a left winger - was today moved into defensive midfield while Konrad Laimer was pushed out wide to support Hwang up front. Wanderson was also pushed out to his favoured position on the wing instead of starting up top. Cican Stankovic retained his place in goal ahead of captain Alexander Walke, having been the pick between the sticks for the whole cup campaign.
The final of the ÖFB Samsung Cup started with the Austrian national anthem, along with a minute's silence for Beppo Mauhart, the long serving president of the Austrian football association who passed away last month.
Rapid start dangerously
Even if the football wasn't always of the very highest standard, the final between the Green and Whites and the Red Bulls began as was hoped - neither team were willing to give an inch. The opening phase was therefore rather disjointed with plenty of stoppages in the opening minutes for fouls committed by either side. One of these led to an extremely dangerous situation for Salzburg. In the 15th minute, Stefan Lainer went into a challenge with Schaub hard and was shown the first yellow card of the evening. Thomas Murg sent the resulting free-kick over to the far post, where Salzburg were able to clear. The champions then got a good chance on the break - Wanderson raced away from the Rapid defence and tried to cut the ball to Valon Berisha in the middle, only for an opponent to clear.
waiting for goals
Rapid were tighter defensively tonight than they have been for much of the league season, although that is the least you would expect in a final. The Red Bulls had the best chance to take the lead in the first half when Koni Laimer leapt highest in the 32nd minute to meet a Berisha cross but could only head the ball into the arms of Knoflach in goal. The goal would not have counted anyway due to a very close offside call. There was still no opening goal as the first half drew to a close, which contributed to Rapid slowly increasing the pressure. Salzburg, on the other hand, continued to try to get the match under control. It remained goalless going into the break. Neither coach would have particularly wanted that, but Salzburg had to be happier with the first half than their Viennese opponents.
pair of goals after the restart
What the first half lacked in goals, the start of the second half fully made up for. Both teams pressed to take the lead, but it came Salzburg's way in the 51st minute. Stefan Lainer launched a charge down the right flank and played a pass through the legs of Maximilian Wöber to Hee Chan Hwang, who converted as clinically as we know he can to put the Red Bulls 1-0 ahead. Any delight about taking the lead did not last long as Rapid pulled level just five minutes later. Joelinton's short-range header from a Pavelic free-kick was one that Cican Stankovic was not able to save. The Red Bulls remained calm and collected despite conceding.
a winner amid the rapid fog
The match had to be stopped for a couple of minutes in the final stages to allow for some thick wafts of smoke coming from flares in the Rapid end to clear. The visible display of support from their fans didn't seem to help the Viennese too much, as Salzburg soon scored to make it 2-1. Shortly after coming on as a substitute, Amadou Haidara hit a shot from the edge of the penalty area that got blocked and deflected off Christopher Dibon. Valentino Lazaro then pounced on the turn to make it 2-1 to Salzburg.
The final minutes remained tense with seven minutes of stoppage time indicated after the earlier interruption. Salzburg were in no hurry as Rapid tried one last push forward. Oscar Garcia's team played some cool and clever football to see their lead to the end of the Samsung Cup Final.
FC Red Bull Salzburg's incredible success sees them make Austrian football history. Never before has a team managed to win four doubles in a row in the country. What a perfect end to a wonderful 2016/2017 season! We would like to thank the wonderful support from the Salzburg fans in Klagenfurt on behalf of all the players, the coaches and the support team.
We knew ahead of the match that it would be a very difficult one, as Rapid made things very difficult for us in the league under Goran Djuricin as coach. We were more efficient with our opportunities today and hardly gave the opponents a chance. Rapid created a lot of pressure going forward and there was a very high tempo to the game. It perhaps wasn't our best match today, but we deserved to win this cup. It was a very emotional match.
You have to perform differently in a final to how you do in the league. We knew that and we have been working on that in the last few days, and I think that we took a lot on board. It was a really difficult match for us though. We are delighted with this cup win! We have to say thank you to the fans who supported us here today.
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On 11 June 2016 a season started - which ended today with the Cup final. Between then FC Red Bull Salzburg played a total of 57 matches, winning 38, drawing 9 and losing 10 with a 113-40 goal difference.
The pre-season fixtures:
19 June – Pre-season training starts at Taxham
23 June, 18:00 – Friendly v USK Anif (Anif)
24 June – 01 July – Training camp in Leogang
28 June, 18:30 – Friendly v Lok Moscow (Leogang)
01 July, 17:00 – Friendly v Dunajska Streda (St. Johann/Pongau)
06 July, 19:00 – Friendly v WSG Wattens (Mondsee)
07 July – Friendly (Red Bull Arena, opponents TBA)
11/12 July – 2nd qualifying round UEFA Champions League (first leg)
15/16 July – 1st round ÖFB Cup
18/19 July – 2nd qualifying round UEFA Champions League (second leg)
22/23 July – 1st match 2017/18 Tipico Bundesliga