Friday 30th January.
Game day was finally upon SV Ried, as they played host to Cracovia Kraków on an overcast afternoon in Belek.
Pre-game there was a sense of expectation as Glasner’s men had been working hard on the training pitch, preparing for this tie. The former Red Bull Salzburg assistant put out a strong XI with a few surprises, such as Denis Streker on the right and Petar Filipovic playing on the left side of a back three.
1st half: The first half didn’t begin too well for the Austrian side with passes lacking conviction and concentration levels not yet at their peak. A Thomas Murg back-pass sold goalkeeper Lorenz Höbarth short, but the 23-year did very well and stole the ball back off the strikers toes. That early alarm seemed to wake Ried up and from there on in they seemed the more likely to score. However, with opportunities missed and Glasner visibly frustrated on the sidelines, the teams went into the break 0:0.
2nd half: With the obligatory substitutions taking place at half-time, it was 20-year old Jakob Kreuzer who caught the eye. The tenacious forward worked incredibly hard chasing down opponents and his effort brought the only goal of the game. Having caught out the Cracovia left-back in possession, the ball broke kindly to Julius Perstaller (who had replaced Denis Thomalla at half-time). The striker who hasn’t started a game since October 18th in a 4:2 loss to Salzburg, charged on goal and found the bottom corner. With Cracovia also losing a man to a second yellow card, the game wound down as Ried cantered to the 1:0 victory.
Following the game, I was able to have a very brief chat with Mr Glasner. To paraphrase, he said he was happy with how his defence had performed during the game, but they were unable to get anything going up front as there were too many long balls; the pitch playing a part in this.
More to follow…Only 1 day left!