Sturm Graz missed the leap to the top of the table in the first Bundesliga game of the year on Sunday. Nevertheless, the disappointment was limited, because in view of a more than 60-minute shortfall, they gladly took a 0-0 at the WAC with them (match report + video highlights). “With this game going we have to be happy with the point“, Summed up captain Stefan Hierländer.
Sturm acted outnumbered from the 28th minute when Amadou Dante saw red because of goal heist. The Styrians owed their goalkeeper to the fact that it was still enough to draw – Jörg Siebenhandl not only parried Michael Liendl’s penalty after the Dante foul, but also other great opportunities for Dejan Joveljic and Dario Vizinger.
Hierländer therefore knew who his team had to thank. “We had an outstanding goalie.“Siebenhandl himself was modest in the Sky interview. “It went pretty well for me. I chose the right side for the penalty kick, so a bit of luck is part of it.“
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The 30-year-old has been unbeaten for 544 minutes of competitive play. In addition, Sturm only conceded five goals in the first twelve rounds – only FC Tirol conceded fewer in 2001/02 (1). In view of these statistics, it was easy for Siebenhandl to stay in second place. “The first place doesn’t bring anything at this point in time anyway“, Said the keeper.
Ilzer: “We earned the point and ultimately earned it”
His coach could also live with the zero number. “We earned the point and ultimately earned it“, Said Ilzer. The long time outnumbered one could “see it as a kind of team building“, Said the 43-year-old, whose team did not leave the field as the winner for the first time after winning six competition games.
For the WAC, the earliest Bundesliga start to the year in 43 years ended a series of four successes en suite – much to the chagrin of coach Ferdinand Feldhofer. “Before the game, a 0-0 win would probably have been okay for us, but after this game you mourn a victory“, Said the ex-ÖFB team player.
Feldhofer struggled with some hazy chances, including Liendl’s missed penalty. The midfielder himself was self-critical of Sky. “It’s very bitter, I’ll take that on my shoulders. Basically I’m a pretty sure shooter, but that shot was very bad“, Liendl admitted.
The director’s contract – like Feldhofer’s contract – expires at the end of the season, so far there have probably been no negotiations about an extension. “It is in the hands of the club management. If the club is ready to speak to me, let them speak. If not, there is nothing to discuss“, Explained Liendl.
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His club is currently in sixth place just above the championship line, the next opponent is on Saturday in the Lavanttal-Arena of TSV Hartberg. Sturm will play against Rapid in Vienna on Friday. With just one point, the Graz team would be leaders for at least two days, because the current front runner Red Bull Salzburg, who is only ahead of the Styrians due to the better goal difference, will only compete in Altach on Sunday.
(APA) / Image: GEPA