Before kick-off, a drone circling over the stadium required a lot of patience. The game started half an hour late due to security concerns. After that, the Austrians hardly managed to embarrass the dense line of defense of the Moldovans. Far too often there was a lack of precision and determination against a technically limited opponent. A low shot by Christoph Baumgartner shortly before the break (45th) and a last-minute hit by Marko Arnautovic (94th) were finally enough for the mandatory victory.
After the hard-fought success in Moldova, two more trend-setting key games await the ÖFB selection in the next seven days in the race for a permanent place at the World Cup finals in Qatar. On Saturday, Austria will meet Israel (7 each) in Haifa, who defeated the Faroe Islands 4-0 (3-0) away. At the end of the World Cup qualifying triple, on Tuesday (8.45 p.m., live on ORF1) in Vienna, Scotland, which now fell back to fourth place behind Austria with five points.
Alaba after muscle problems only replacement
In view of the failures of several key players – Marcel Sabitzer, Xaver Schlager, Sasa Kalajdzic, Stefan Lainer and Julian Baumgartlinger were injured – and with a view to two more difficult games within the next seven days, Foda was forced to improvise. Since Real star David Alaba had muscular problems during the final training session the day before, the 55-year-old German presented a somewhat surprising starting eleven.
Like Alaba, defensive routinist Aleksandar Dragovic was only a replacement for the time being. Foda gave the 30-year-old a break after three games last week. Christopher Trimmel, Philipp Lienhart, Martin Hinteregger and Andreas Ulmer formed the chain of defense. Before that, Florian Grillitsch and Konrad Laimer played in midfield and Louis Schaub and Baumgartner on the wings. Michael Gregoritsch started in the storm alongside Marko Arnautovic, who in the absence of the injured Julian Baumgartlinger also wore the captain’s bow instead of Alaba.
Drone delays kick-off in Chisinau
“We want to try to exert pressure from the first minute and score a quick goal,” said Foda in an interview with ORF before the game. At the same time, the ÖFB team boss knew that due to the defensive style of play of the Moldovans, a lot of patience would be required. Just like before the start of the game, when the Austrian national anthem was a long time coming due to technical problems and the red-white-red fans stepped in, and then when a drone circling over the stadium delayed the kick-off.
The English referee Paul Tierney initially refused to whistle the game while the drone was over the field. The players were also sent back from the pitch to the dressing room. Only after about 20 minutes could the pilot – a little boy according to unconfirmed reports – be traced. The game finally kicked off at 9:15 p.m. CEST half an hour late.
Passing play lacks precision
And as feared, the Austrians found it difficult to find gaps against deep opponents at the beginning. In addition, Grillitsch and Co. also lacked precision after conquering the ball in the shift game and in the fast game forward. In any case, it was not the possession of the ball, after around 20 minutes the statisticians showed a rate of almost 70:30 percent in favor of the Austrians. However, the goals were still 0-0.
Baumgartner heads over the gate (20th minute)
Trimmel crossed precisely to Baumgartner, but this headed the ball over the net.
It took until the 20th minute before the first noteworthy offensive action in the duel with number 175 in the FIFA world rankings. With a cross from Trimmel, Baumgartner positioned himself perfectly on the fives between two Moldovans, but did not manage to push the ball, which flew clearly over the goal. Shortly afterwards, Arnautovic tried it from a distance. The ball jumped dangerously in front of Moldova goalie Cristian Avram, but then went clearly past the left post (24).
Baumgartner redeems the ÖFB-Elf before the break
On the other side, the Moldovans also presented themselves for the first time in the form of a header from captain Artur Ionita. His attempt went clearly wrong (28th). Goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann didn’t have to intervene, but by now he and his people in front were warned that the duel with Moldova would not be a sure-fire success. Especially in the middle nothing went further. But shortly afterwards, the Austrians showed how it could work.
In the 34th minute, Schaub dribbled into the penalty area from the right and – somewhat happily – put down on Baumgartner, whose volley was fisted away by Avram. Shortly afterwards, Laimer staged Arnautovic in a free kick variant on the edge of the penalty area. His attempted shot would have been more of a concern for the drone before the start of the game (37th). Nevertheless, it did not go goalless into the dressing room, because the ÖFB team still struck: Baumgartner took over a deposit from Arnautovic on the edge of the penalty area and the ball turned unstoppable for Avram flat into the right corner (45th).
Despite the poor performance in the first 45 minutes, little changed in the game after the break: Austria lacked the ideas, Moldova the means. Team boss Foda initially waived personnel changes and only tried to bring a breath of fresh air to Laimer after 60 minutes by substituting Ercan Kara instead of the pale Michael Gregoritsch and Alessandro Schöpf.
Arnautovic scores to 2-0
In stoppage time, Arnautovic scores 2-0.
More than a long shot from Hinteregger (70th), a Kara attempt in the side netting (72nd) and a header again from Hinteregger after a corner kick (76th) did not look out. In the finish came Stefan Ilsanker and Alaba, who replaced the ailing goal scorer Baumgartner. But not much went together after that until Real star Alaba pushed through a dream pass to Arnautovic in stoppage time. The Bologna legionnaire increased to 2-0, but couldn’t hide a playfully sobering performance.
Voices for the game:
franc fuck (ÖFB team boss): “We made life difficult for ourselves at times because we were simply too complicated in the last third. We weren’t determined and purposeful enough. We then addressed that at half-time. We were sometimes too casual, shouldn’t happen. There were always phases. If we kept up the pace, we had our clear scoring chances. “
“Sure, the win was deserved. But it’s just annoying that we didn’t put in a performance over 90 minutes that would have satisfied me. We were superior and had a lot of possession. We should have closed the sack beforehand. But the opponent hardly had a chance to score. We have done the duty. Ultimately, we had to improvise during the game and before that. You noticed that there was also a lack of ease and automatism. Defensively we were actually very stable, very stable. “
Marko Arnautovic (Austria goalscorer): “In the past, it was always said that it was easy against opponents like that. It’s true we have to win these games, but it was seen that it is not that easy. You defended well. But we still showed quality and won confidently. Of course I had chances and have to score one or two goals. It was a must win, we got the three points. But now we are preparing for Israel. “
Martin Hinteregger (Defender Austria): “If you are not challenged as a defender for 90 minutes, it would of course be better if you are 2-0, 3-0 up quickly. But we were never challenged at the back. They were very passive. If we score the goals beforehand, things will look different. Everyone did as much as they need to. That’s why such a game comes out. “
World Cup qualification, group F, fourth matchday
Moldova – Austria 0: 2 (0: 1)
Chisinau, Zimbru Stadium, 4,700 Zuschauer, SR Tierney (ENG)
0:1 Baumgartner (45.)
0: 2 Arnautovic (94.)
Moldova: Avram – Jardan, Posmac, Potirniche (84./Bolohan), Reabciuk – Platica (84./Antoniuc), Dros, Ionita, Belousov (73./Marandici) – Ginsari (59./Bogaciuc) – Ghecev (59./Spataru )
Austria: Bachmann – Trimmel, Lienhart, Hinteregger, Ulmer – Grillitsch (82./Ilsanker) – Schaub (77./Kainz), Laimer (62./Schöpf), Baumgartner (83./Alaba) – Gregoritsch (62./Kara), Arnautovic
Yellow cards: Reabciuk, Belousov or none