CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Thursday, November 11, 2010
Altach's Austrian Cup campaign came to a close in Vienna on Wednesday night with a disappointing extra-time loss to the Erste Liga laggards.

Coach Adi Hütter's men had taken the lead after a half-an-hour thanks to Harald Unverdorben, but conceded an equalizer after an hour and a winner minutes into the extra period.

Michigan native Josh Gatt started on the bench for the Black and Golds, entered in the 58th minute, and went the distance in the Round of 16 loss.

With rainy conditions wreaking havoc on the field of Vienna's Hohe Warte stadium, both squads needed a dozen minutes to get organized. Vienna's Philipp Hosiner was the first to get a good look at goal after Rade Djokic found the Austrian striker with a 40-yard freekick. Although in a dangerous position in the box, Hosiner's header beamed straight at Altach keeper Martin Kobras.

Vienna did not look like the cellar-dwellers of the Erste Liga, and put up a fight to keep the affair close. Such pressure nearly led to a crucial error in the 17th minute when Marco Salvatore swung in a feed that Altach defender Ione Agoney Cabrera Jimenez tried to clear, only to smack the left post of his own net, and get a second chance to clear.

Four minutes later Altach's Patrick Scherrer stared down a free kick from 30 yards out, but only managed to hit straight into the wall.

Altach's steady pressure paid off in the 34th minute when Harald Unverdorben found the back of the net with a one-two with Orhan Ademi. After the Vienna defense coughed up possession just outside the box, Unverdorben fed to his left to Ademi, who returned the favor for the solid strike into the right netting of Bartolomej Kuru's goal for the 1-0 lead.

Vienna's Richard Strohmeyer and Mario Kröpfl saw yellow in the 37th after the former tripped Schütz running through the midfield and the latter felled Andreas Lienhart soon after.

The hosts maintained pressure throughout the evening and even found inventive ways to threaten. With five minutes left in the half, Djokic delivered from the left corner for Strohmeyer, who could only connect with his knee. Kobras had no difficulty catching the shot.

Two minutes into the second half, referee Manuel Schüttengruber added Ademi and Gernot Suppan to his yellow card book.

As the rain let up, Vienna looked for an equalizer and nearly did so in the 53rd minute. After a Djokic corner from right side, Sargon Duran was there for a header across the face of the goal. No one in the blue and gold was there for the conversion and Altach cleared to safety.

Adi Hütter made the first substitution of the evening at the 58-minute mark, bringing on Gatt for Schütz. The 19-year old immediately got involved in the offense, fielding a long pass from Mattias Sereinig, sprinting down the right flank, but unable to find anyone for the shot.

Vienna finally pulled one back just past the hour mark courtesy of Hosiner. The Austrian striker Hosiner controlled a pass from left side at corner of the box, duped Lienhart with a move to the right, and fired past Kobras just inside the right post.

Substitutions followed in the 65th minute, as Altach's Martin Pusic entered for Ademi, and Philipp Frenzl come on the opposite side of the field for Dvoracek two minutes later.

Gatt provided a spark and fresh legs, and worked to create opportunities from the midfield. After quietly manning the left flank for ten minutes, Gatt led a drive down the right, cut in towards the top of the box, and saw his shot blocked back to him. He laid off for Scherrer in the box but the Vienna defense was able to snuff out the attack.

Scherrer also created an opportunity of his own in the 77th minute when he tracked down a cross-field corner on the right, back-heeled along backline to himself, and found Pusic for a tight-angle shot that Kuru easily managed.

In spite of Altach's pressure Vienna held strong and forced overtime, which worked in their favor within minutes of the extra-time whistle. The succeeded in grabbing the surprise lead, when Salvatore found Djokic with room at the top of the box. Taking advantage of Cabrera's slip, the Bosnian made no mistake and fired Vienna into the lead.

Altach looked for a reply, but were unable to orchestrate one. Gatt continued to be active in the midfield for the visitors, slicing past several defenders in the 103rd minute, but finding no one there to convert. Cabrera thought he had an equalizer with a header off the ensuing free kick, but Schüttengruber whistled for a foul.

Vienna claimed the win to the delight of the 800 in attendance, and advances to the quarterfinals to face a foe to be determined.

Altach return to the field Saturday against TSV Hartberg to continue their pursuit of the top spot of the Erste Liga.