CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Monday, November 21, 2011
Linz preserved a point away at Lustenau with a comeback strike from Brazilian playmaker Henrique, and a highlight-reel penalty kick save from keeper Thomas Mandl.
American Shawn Barry registered another start and full shift in the Linz backline, and contributed to a few defensive stops to preserve the draw.
An otherwise slow first half saw the first bright scoring opportunity after 29 minutes, when Linz's Kevin Wimmer lofted in a ball behind the Lustenau defense, who backed off to let keeper Andreas Lukse handle the delivery. However, Daniel Kogler slipped through quickly to head forward at point blank range, but straight into the arms of the Lustenau netminder.
Lustenau's newcomer Martin Toritzbacher dished up the deadlock-breaker in the 60th minute, threading a splendid pass through the midfield for Florian Zellhofer just ahead of the backline. Zellhofer made no mistake with a clear look at goal, and bowled past Thomas Mandl with ease for the 1-0 lead and his fifth tally of the season.
The Brazilian playmaker Luiz Henrique de Oliveira needed a dozen minutes to find an equalizer for Linz, first finding Benjamin Freudentaler down the left flank with a fine pass. While the Linz striker lured a few Lustenau defenders, Henrique sneaked into the midfield for Freudentaler's return pass, and struck past Lukse to even the score, 1-1.
The heated second half also featured a little drama in the 78th minute, thanks to referee Alexander Harkam's delayed and questionable penalty call in favor of Lustenau, after midfielder David Witteveen fell following a nudge with Linz's Kevin Wimmer at the edge of the box.
Luckily for the Linzers, Mandl dove to the occasion and parried Witteveen's ensuing penalty kick, to preserve the point at the final whistle.
With the draw, Linz remain in third in the Erste Liga, but now face a six-point gap from the top thanks to a win for new leaders SCR Altach.