CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Sunday, October 16, 2011
Linz remained in the chase for the Erste Liga title with their second straight win, thanks to an own goal and a fortunate strike from Luiz Henrique.
Shawn Barry returned to action as a halftime substitute in Linz coach Wlater Schachner's backline.
The two exchanged a few shots in the opening quarter of an hour with Linz's Hannes Aigner coming closest after ten minutes. Following a nice run down the right touchline from Robert Strobl, the 30-year old fired from close range but unfortunately struck the leg of Jürgen Rindler.
Linz finally opened the scoring at the 20-minute mark thanks to a fortunate shot that grazed the head Hartberg defender Luca Tauschmann on its way into the net. Coming off a Luiz Henrique free kick from distance, defender Ulrich Winkler nodded forward just slightly enough off Tauschmann's head to throw off Rindler for the 1-0 lead.
In spite of the hosts' efforts to find an equalizer, Linz slipped in another goal before the break courtesy of Luiz Henrique with another stroke of luck. Unsuccessful at finding an opening in traffic in the box, Aigner laid off to the Brazilian who fired just for the sake of it from 30 yards out. Slipping through the defense, Dober lost track of the shot and tried to get a glove on it, but only managed to push it into the netting for the 2-0 halftime score.
Shawn Barry entered at the half for the injured Florian Hart, who had collided with Hartberg's Matej Miljatovic shortly before the halftime whistle.
Linz could have added a third in the 70th minute after Andreas Dober clearly brought down Benjamin Freudentaler from while sprinting into the box, but referee Markus Hameter whistled for a goal kick.
The Black and Whites held on for the win, which rings them to 26 points, still four points adrift of first place SCR Altach. Next Friday the Linzers host fourth-place holders SC Austria Lustenau.