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ÖFB Cup: Sturm turns turbulent Graz derby

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ÖFB Cup: Sturm turns turbulent Graz derby

In front of 16,400 spectators in the Merkur Arena, Sturm initially took an early lead thanks to a stationary ball: after a cross from Yusuf Gazibegovic, defender Gregory Wüthrich headed in (5th). After that, the favorites had the game in hand, but the “Red Jackets” came up and turned the game around before the break.

Michael Cheukoua hit the corner after a Lichtenberger cross (31′), then Yannick Oberleitner finished with his elbow as a result of a corner (37′) – since the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) is only used in the cup from the quarter-finals onwards, that remained it in the leadership.

Oberleitner scores with his elbow (37th min.)

The GAK takes the lead in the derby.

Immediately after the restart, GAK missed top-class chances through Michael Lang, Cheukoua and Christian Lichtenberger before Sturm scored out of nowhere: A cross from Alexander Prass directed Oberleitner into his own goal (58th). After that, the “Blackies” were back in control and Teixeira finished after a mistake from Milos Jovicic and a pass from Manprit Sarkaria to make it 3-2.

Riots before kick-off

However, the 199th Graz competitive derby also wrote negative headlines before kick-off. Meetings were held after riots in and around the stadium resulted in injuries and arrests. The game kicked off as planned at 8:30 p.m.

APA/Erwin Scheriau There were riots before the game, including inside the stadium

Storm is ahead early

Last year, the first Graz derby in 15 years also took place in the round of 16. It ended with a narrow 1-0 win for the favorites. This time it didn’t seem to be so tight. But the initial phase was deceptive, with the favorite taking the lead early on.

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1:0 for Sturm (5th min.)

Wüthrich hits his head early.

Sturm’s defense chief Wüthrich subverted a free-kick cross from Jusuf Gazibegovic with a powerful header into the left corner after just 247 seconds (5th). The GAK let their arch-rivals take control after the early setback, but in the end they were able to rely on an orderly five-man chain. Despite all his dominance, Sturm failed to improve and increasingly fell into passivity. Stefan Hierländer couldn’t prevent a cross and Cheukoua scored in the center with his left turn (31′).

Cheukoua equalizes (31st minute)

After half an hour everything in Graz was open again.

The equalizer from the proverbial nowhere initiated a phase of collective hectic, which the GAK immediately used again: The agile Cheukoua threw himself into a corner and Oberleitner – unnoticed by Harald Lechner’s team of referees – maneuvered the ball in with his elbow in a pivoting movement Goal. There is no video assistant referee (VAR) in this phase of the ÖFB competition.

GAK leaves a preliminary decision

The Europa League starter lacked the ideas of the ailing Otar Kiteishvili and William Böving, and coach Christian Ilzer initially left two frequent players, Jon Gorenc Stankovic and Manprit Sarkaria, on the bench. Sarkaria came into the game earlier than planned because Seedy Jatta was injured. Sturm came out of the dressing room with anger in his stomach, but almost ran into an early knockout. Michael Lang (47th/next), Cheukoua (48th/failed by Kjell Scherpen) and Christian Lichtenberger (57th/next) let him go there are three chances.

Great opportunity for GAK (57th min.)

After the restart, the “Red Jackets” gave away chance after chance.

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“Blackies” turn the game around for good

So the Black and Whites suddenly celebrated an equalizer, which had not been announced. Oberleitner – the goalscorer to make it 2-1 – maneuvered a cross from Alexander Prass into his own goal (58th).

Equalizer through own goal (58th minute)

Own goal to make it 2-2 by Yannick Oberleitner.

The Ilzer team had thus taken over the reins of action again. However, top chances were in short supply. Teixeira, of all people, used the match point, hitting the ball into the far corner after a pass from Sarkaria. It was his first goal as a striker in his 29th appearance.

Voices about the game:

Gernot Messner (GAK coach): “Everyone in the stadium saw that we did really well. We wanted to inspire, that was the goal. If we make it 3-1 from our three or four chances at the start of the second half, it will be difficult for Sturm to beat us. Because we were really poisonous on the counterattack today too.”

Christian Ilzer (Sturm coach): “GAK were absolutely suitable for the Bundesliga today, a very strong performance, they demanded everything from us and let us jump on the counterattack in the second half. Our counter-pressing also caused mistakes in their defense. I’m glad this thing is over after 90 minutes.”

Uniqa ÖFB Cup, round of 16


GAK – Sturm 2:3 (2:1)

Goals: Cheukoua (31st), Oberleitner (37th) or Wüthrich (5th), Oberleitner (58th/own goal), Teixeira (84th)

Quarterfinals on 2nd/3rd/4th February 2024, the draw will take place on Sunday (from 7:10 p.m.) as part of the ORF program “Football”.

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