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Austria eliminated in the quarter-finals against Sturm

Austria Wien were beaten 2-0 by defending champions Sturm Graz in the quarter-finals of the UNIQA ÖFB Cup. Tomi Horvat put Sturm Graz ahead in the 9th minute, and new signing Mika Biereth made it 2-0 in first-half stoppage time. The Violets were able to keep up well in terms of play, especially in the first half, but lacked the finishing touch.

© GEPA pictures

Mirko Kos stood in goal as usual in the Cup, although he will remain the number one goalkeeper for the next few weeks as Christian Früchtl is out with a knee injury. Johannes Handl, Marvin Martins and Lucas Galvão started in defense. Manfred Fischer started alongside Marvin Potzmann in the center of midfield, with Reinhold Ranftl and Manuel Polster on the flanks. The attacking trio consisted of Andreas Gruber, Muharem Husković and Dominik Fitz. Fisnik Asllani is also out for longer with a torn tendon in the sole of his foot.

Sturm Graz fielded two debutants, both on loan from England. Goalkeeper Vítězslav Jaroš came from Liverpool and replaced the injured Kjell Scherpen. Twenty-year-old Mika Biereth, who was loaned from Arsenal London for the spring, started in attack.

Sturm scored early and late, 2-0 at the break

Austria started strongly and with a high level of aggression. Manuel Polster had the first chance to score after an assist from Dominik Fitz, but shot over the goal (7'). Unfortunately, SK Sturm took the lead shortly afterwards. Alexander Prass set up Tomi Horvat with an instep pass, the Slovenian was lucky enough to play around Johannes Handl and finish volleyed home from the air (9').

The game was then interrupted for several minutes due to a smoke bomb, after which the Viennese were back in action. Fitz played the ball into the middle, Husković put his heel to Andi Gruber, who just missed the goal - great action, unfortunately unrewarded (22'). Husković was offside when he had a chance after a pass from Gruber, but lifted the ball over the goal anyway (36'). Shortly afterwards, Husković was fouled by Jusuf Gazibegović on the edge of the box and the resulting free-kick from Fitz was dangerously struck in front of goal, but was ultimately cleared out of the danger zone (37'). Manuel Polster won the ball on the touchline, but Andreas Gruber failed to score by a few centimetres with another overhead kick (39').

Austria had the better chances, but the hosts scored again in nine minutes of stoppage time: Mika Biereth took advantage of an unfortunate defensive error and scored with a powerful shot to make it 2-0 (45+8'). The Violets had a difficult task ahead of them in the second half.

The Violets were unable to add to their lead after the break

Austria started the second half with renewed vigor and technical strength before the game had to be interrupted again for ten minutes due to poor visibility. Mirko Kos had no chance with the two goals, but in minutes 67 and 69 the Austria goalkeeper made excellent saves from Gazibegović and Sarkaria. In between, Muki Husković got his shot away but failed to beat Jaroš.

Michi Wimmer brought on Alexander Schmidt and Romeo Vučić for Dominik Fitz and Andreas Gruber after 75 minutes. A long-range shot from Marvin Potzmann went over the goal (79') as the Violets got back into the game. A cross from Reinhold Ranftl was cleared in front of Schmidt at the last moment (81'). James Holland replaced Muharem Husković for the final minutes, Potzmann moved to the side and Polster into the attack. Referee Christopher Jäger added 13 minutes of stoppage time. A good long-range shot from Polster went just over the goal and a shot from Schmidt was deflected out for a corner (90+2', 90+10'). The Violets were ultimately unable to score and the game ended 2-0 to SK Puntigamer Sturm Graz,

SK Sturm Graz - Austria Vienna 2:0 (2:0)

Sturm: Jaroš; Gazibegović (90+8' Johnston), Affengruber, Lavalée, Schnegg; Gorenc-Stankovič; Horvat (83' Bøving), Kiteishvili (90+8' Hierländer), Prass; Sarkaria (90+8' Camara), Biereth (90' Włodarczyk)

Austria: Kos; Handl, Martins, Galvão; Ranftl, Fischer, Potzmann, Polster; Gruber (75' Vučić), Husković (87' Holland), Fitz (75' Schmidt)

Goals: Horvat (9'), Biereth (45+8')

Yellow cards: Fischer (90+2')

Merkur Arena, referee Christopher Jäger, 12,025 spectators