CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Monday, February 25, 2013
In an action-packed affair on Sunday afternoon, Rapid had three replies for Salzburg's trio of goals, holding on for a much-needed point.
American Terrence Boyd returned to the scorer's column with his tenth tally of the season, jumpstarting the Rapid offense after falling behind early.
The hosts wasted no time in opening the scoring within a minute after Kevin Kampl got on the end of a Valon Berisha midfield delivery, sped forward behind the Rapid backline, and slotted past Lukas Könighofer for the 1-0 lead before the Red Bull Arena faithful.
Just past the quarter hour mark, Christopher Trimmel, Terrence Boyd and Guido Burgstaller saw great opportunities just miss the mark. Rapid had to wait until three minutes after the break to find their equalizer from Boyd.
From distance right winger Trimmel lofted in a seemingly harmless ball to the left edge of the area, where Deni Alar lobbed back into the box. Perched just yard in front of the spot, Boyd won a header and nodded just a hair inside the left post of Alexander Walke's net for the 1-1 equalizer.
Just when Rapid thought they had the game under control, referee Markus Hameter controversially pointed to the spot in the 68th minute after contact at the top edge of the box from Thomas Schrammel on Red Bull sub Georg Teigl. Schrammel saw his second yellow, and hit the showers.
For the ensuing penalty, Jonathan Soriano stepped up-shaking off memories from last August's visit by Rapid, when his launched penalty miss hit highlight reels around the world-and slotted to the right of duped Königshofer to bring Salzburg back into the 2-1 lead.
Desperate for points to stay in the Bundesliga title run, Rapid still had juice left and equalized again in the 82nd minute. Captain Steffen Hofmann orchestrated the lead-up from the midfield, finding Burgstaller just inside the left corner of the box for a driving strike that Walke was a fingertip too late for.
Salzburg bombarded the box and took the lead again just four minutes later off a freekick, with Franz Schiemer and the Rapid netminder battling for a header, all the while leaving Martin Hinteregger alone in front of the net to tap home after the ball fell.
With time running out, Rapid threaded together an impressive series of passes through the midfield culminating in Hofmann once again finding a lone striker, this time Marcel Sabitzer, at the left corner of the box for a blast that again somehow found its way through Walke's arms and legs for the game-tying goal.
With the result, the Viennese sit on 39 points and the Salzburger on 42, while leaders Austria Vienna inch further ahead in the standings after their win.
Rapid return home to host hot-on-the-trail Sturm Graz on Wednesday evening, just three points behind in the standings.