The runner-up celebrated a well-deserved 1-0 home win over SCR Altach in the last championship match of the year on Sunday, with Seedy Jatta (3rd) scoring the only goal of the evening. After their fifth defeat in the last six rounds, the Vorarlbergers go into the break in tenth place, 13 points ahead of bottom team Austria Lustenau.
Sturm’s gold scorer made a surprising comeback after recovering from a thigh injury. The 1-0 result came from an optimally executed transition – David Schnegg sent Jatta on his way and the striker overcame Altach goalkeeper Dejan Stojanovic. It could have been 2-0 as early as the sixth minute, but Jon Gorenc-Stankovic’s header from a free-kick cross from Manprit Sarkaria hit the bar.
The Altach team also scored a goal – a shot from Gustavo Santos jumped off the post and back into the field (14th). Otherwise, the guests were rarely found in the opposing penalty area. Sturm clearly dictated the game, but missed many opportunities to score. Otar Kiteishvili lobbed the ball just past the goal (18th), Schnegg also missed the target (29th) and Sarkaria was denied by Stojanovic (45th+3).
The Styrians continued to exploit their chances after the break. Jatta ran towards the goal alone, but found his master in Stojanovic (47th). Tomi Horvat missed the next shot (48′), then Sarkaria couldn’t beat Altach’s strong goalkeeper (50′) and shot just wide (52′). Substitute Szymon Wlodarczyk also failed to score, initially there was no way past Stojanovic (66′), then the Pole shot wide (75′).
Sturm almost took revenge for the many missed chances in the 57th minute, but keeper Kjell Scherpen was the winner with a brilliant save against Dominik Reiter. Otherwise, the home team’s success was no longer in danger, which boosted their confidence for the last game of the year. On Thursday in the Europa League at Sporting Lisbon the long-distance duel with Rakow Czestochowa will be about the European Cup overwinter.
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