LASK has ended its winless streak in the Bundesliga and for the first time in five games scored a “three-pointer”. In an open game at Austria Klagenfurt, Dietmar Kühbauer’s team scored a somewhat fortunate 3:1 (1:0) on Saturday, thus consolidating their third place in the table at the start of the second half of the season.
Goal-scorer Marin Ljubičić scored a brace for the efficient Upper Austrians (15./72.), with his goals number eight and nine the 20-year-old Croatian took over the sole lead in the scoring charts. Klagenfurt’s “noble joker” Jonas Arweiler managed to equalize in the meantime (63rd). The Carinthians ultimately failed to convert their chances, and for Austria and coach Peter Pacult the series of three wins in a row came to an end. With 17 points, the gap to LASK is now five points, but the Carinthians will remain fourth at least until Sunday.
Against LASK, who had also won the first leg 3:1 in the season opener, Pacult sent the same eleven into the game that last triumphed against Lustenau (2:1). Kühbauer had to change his team in one position, with the stricken Philipp Ziereis replaced in central defense by Akos Kecskés. The visiting coach was also responsible for the first highlight of the match, Kühbauer picked up his fourth yellow card of the season overall for criticism (8th). In the opening phase, the 3408 spectators in Klagenfurt saw the expected intense encounter, with slight advantages for the Linz side in terms of playing shares.
The Upper Austrians’ recently flagging offense first became dangerous after ten minutes when Keito Nakamura failed to beat Austria goalkeeper Phillip Menzel with a low shot into the short corner. After a quarter of an hour, Menzel could only direct a shot from the Japanese player to the inside of the post, and Ljubičić pushed the rebound over the line from five meters. On the opposite side, Pink almost managed the quick answer with a volley (19.).
In a lively match, both offensive lines came up with brilliant opportunities after half an hour. First Pink hit the bar (29.), in the direct countermove Ljubičić missed alone in front of Menzel. An open exchange of blows developed and Pacult’s side deserved an equalizer before the break. However, Christopher Cvetko missed a good opportunity (32nd), a header by Kosmas Gkezos bounced off the crossbar back into the field (45.+2). Shortly before, Sinan Karweina was taken off his feet by Nakamura on the edge of the penalty area, but VAR Walter Altmann decided against an intervention.
After the change of ends, LASK center back Felix Luckeneder caused a commotion in his own penalty area. The ball rolled after a clarification attempt by flying header to the hand of the defensive player, but for referee Julian Weinberger not worthy of a penalty (49th). Subsequently, LASK goalkeeper Alexander Schlager had to distinguish himself against the strong Cvetko (51st) and Pink (61st). After a perfect pass from Cvetko, Arweiler, who came on as a substitute for the twelfth time in the twelfth game, scored the deserved equalizer into the short corner.
Pink then headed the ball onto the aluminum for the third time for Klagenfurt (66th), and Schlager again had to distinguish himself on Solomon Bonnah’s follow-up shot. Kühbauer’s side took the lead, however, completely against the run of play, with substitute Robert Žulj serving Ljubičić, who netted through Menzel’s legs. Shortly after, Nakamura made everything clear from close range, before the Klagenfurter had demanded a penalty whistle after an alleged foul on Pink.