Our serial champions' tour took us to the first of 32 stops on Sunday. The destination may be unknown but after a quick glance around we proceed to get our feet on the pedals and head down the starting ramp. That was what yesterday was all about - an accomplished first step, but no more than that.
getting our bearings again after the summer
A friendly match here, a huge win in the cup there, but the real business didn't start until yesterday. The true profit from six weeks of pre-season was ready to be tallied up. We were able to cash in right from the start. WAC gave their all with the confidence from their recent draws against us clearly in their minds, but they were second best right from the start. They only managed four shots in the whole match, none of which came before their sending off.
Speed has nothing to do with fortune
Lochoshvili tried to pull the handbrake against Patson Daka after 16 minutes in a way that was always going to get him sent off. It was a disappointing debut for the Georgian, but no accident. Patson Daka is used to coming in from the left, but deliberately switched from Baumgartner in order to sit on the new signing and force him into sprints. Chances, goals and a sending off were all predictable consequences of such an uneven battle.
The red card left the door ajar for our team, and we just had to make our advantage count. That is so often easier said than done in football, so it was hugely important to take the lead after Szoboszlai's perfect ball into the box was forced into his own net by Peretz's shin. Six minutes later, Patson Daka leapt to meet his own chip with an extended leg and make it 2-0 with a real masterpiece of attacking willpower and acrobatics.
Wolfsberger AC 1-3 FC Red Bull Salzburg
Shots on target: 2-4
Shots off target: 2-14
Challenges won: 51-49
Passing accuracy (%) 61-85
WAC cards: Yellow x 2, Red x 1
RBS cards: Yellow x 1, Red x 0
We bossed possession with the advantage of the extra man. It looked comfortable, but there was a difficult balancing act to be struck of taking the play to the opponents without risking too much. We were helped with our assurance on the left, with Max Wöber and Andi Ulmer playing the most passes, not only in total, but also too one another. Even though it looked like we were on cruise control at times in the second period, we had to fret once or twice. Dieng was denied by the woodwork after a crazy solo run, just like Leitgeb was a few seconds later. You still might not believe it, but 2-0 really is a dangerous score, we promise you.
Koita seals the deal
After the fright from the hosts, the substituted duo of Sucic and Koita sealed the win for us. The former provided the assist and the latter tucked it in for 3-0 with a crisp and powerful drive as he celebrated almost apologetically. That was that - our fourth shot on goal brought us our third strike. Three points in the bag - just the start we wanted.