The stadium in Klagenfurt and SK Storm, it is a special and successful symbiosis. After 2010 and 2018, the black and white brought the cup trophy to Graz again. Man of the match was Manprit Sarkaria with a brace, who also crowned himself as the top scorer of this year’s cup season with six goals. It secured SK Sturm’s sixth Cup title, the first for coach Christian Ilzer in his career. After the shooting, the black and white half of the field cheered, and the other half, green and white, walked away in disappointment.
Commentary: SK Sturm’s impressive road to success is far from over
In the 20th minute, excitement reigned in the prestige duel for the first time. The ball was behind the line, many believed in the 28Black Arena, which sold out with 30,000 visitors. Swift goalkeeper Niklas Heidl stood farther in on goal to deflect Emmanuel Emiga’s header. The video assistant referee intervened and stated: There is no goal for SK. Sturm. No one can say for sure, because no camera perspective is capable of providing true enlightenment. In the twenty minutes leading up to it, there was a lot of commitment, a lot of passion and a lot of fighting. Due to the intense performances of both teams and the high tempo, there was a lack of a good football group. However, it wasn’t a bad game. Hütteldorfer played more action in SK Sturm’s half, which was reflected in several corner kicks. But it wasn’t really a serious chance.
The atmosphere in the stands was great at that point and tense on the field. It was tough, but mostly fair. The Viennese partisans were less fair. They threw tools twice on the green. In the 33rd minute, Manpreet Sarkarya had to pull away from the corner point on the instructions of the referee. After a few minutes the same picture. After Jonas Auer fouled Emegha, things flew on the green again. Referee Christopher Jagr, who had to make his way into the match for 15 minutes, led the heated game with the necessary coolness and sent both teams to halftime 0-0 after 45 minutes.
Manprit Sarkaria scored Storm for the title
Not only did the second half start with incredibly impressive choreography, but also with the best chances in this encounter so far. Emegha single-handedly ran towards the fast goalkeeper Hedl, but he didn’t put the ball in well, but kept playing Sarkaria. The attacking man missed a 100% chance from about five meters and shot wide of the goal. went in quick succession. First, Heidel defended Alexandre Prass’s shot (55) into the corner, then Sarkaria (56) headed over Heidel, but also over the goal. After another corner, David Affengruber (57) headed the bar. Black and White dominated the match at this point. However, Imega (64) again shot wide of the goal alone in front of Hadl. In the 66th minute it’s time. After a pass from Imega, Sarkaria turned the quick defense around and volleyed the ball under the crossbar from about 11 metres.
As Graz progresses, the game becomes more active and more intense. Sturm wanted the quick second goal to equalise. Momentum, it didn’t decrease, there was no time to catch a breath. In the 84th minute, Sarkaria made the difference with his second goal of the match. As the Sturm cheered, a Rapid player was hit by a firecracker from his fan block during the warm-up. Later, more fireworks fell on the field. Referee Jagger put the match to a good end.
“Scoring two goals is indescribable,” Sarkaria, the doubles’ top scorer, said after the match. “It was really amazing, great match and great atmosphere. It’s a very special moment and day, it’s my first title. I’m very happy.” Sturm captain Stefan Herlander congratulated the first losers, the opponents: “First of all, congratulations to Rapid, they played a good final and demanded everything from us. We are very happy.” The golden scorer from the 2018 final continued: “The Sturm-Spitzer (Emegha and Sarkaria, note) are worth their weight in gold, they are game-changers, I saw that again today. They have quality, speed and decided the game today.”
SK Rapid players naturally showed themselves crooked. “Now, shortly thereafter, there is an absolute void,” said Guido Burgstaller. “We had a great game, we screwed it up. You could tell Sturm is a well-rehearsed group, they don’t give up anything. I don’t want to blame the players. Because of the second half, Sturm was a deserved winner.”
The state holiday becomes a stormy holiday
SK Sturm can be seen up close in Graz on Monday. From 4 p.m. there will be a cup and birthday celebration in the main square of Graz and we will pay tribute to the coach of the century Ivica Osim, who passed away a year ago on the 1st of May.
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