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Austria stun Spanish hosts

Thursday, 17 March 2005

By Andy Hall

[1] FK Austria Wien squeezed into the UEFA Cup quarter-finals on away goals after drawing 2-2 with Real Zaragoza, despite a spirited comeback by the Spanish side at La Romareda.

Held on

[2] Two first-half goals paved the way for Lars Sondergaard's team to progress, Saša Papac and Tosin Dosunmu stunning the home crowd with strikes within the first ten minutes. Even the dismissal of their goalkeeper Joseph Didulica after 30 minutes could not halt Austria's progress, although they had to survive some nervy final moments after first David Villa and then Luciano Galletti had hauled Zaragoza level.

Set-piece opener

[3] Zaragoza had hoped to protect the 1-1 score they had achieved in Vienna, but despite enjoying a bright start, were trailing as early as the fifth minute. Luis García failed to clear Libor Sionko's free-kick from the left-wing and Papac pounced on the loose ball to fire through the goalkeeper's legs.

Zaragoza numbed

[4] That unexpected start left the home side bewildered, and they were punished from an almost identical set-play just five minutes later. Once again Sionko sent over a free-kick into the penalty area, Dosunmu given carte blanche to score Austria's second of the evening.

Spanish reposte

[5] Zaragoza responded quickly, Galletti coming close to reducing the deficit moments later, but with only Didulica to beat he contrived to shoot wide. Soon after Mikael Antonsson almost pinched a third for Austria, his long-range effort skimming the top of the crossbar.

Direct red

[6] The visitors' glorious night turned sour on the half-hour mark, when they were reduced to ten men. Didulica was ordered from the field for hauling down Sávio Bortolini, and with the numerical advantage, Zaragoza laid siege on the Austria goal. Sávio and Villa both tried in vain, seeing their efforts before half-time saved by stand-in goalkeeper Szabolcs Safar.

Muñoz pep talk

[7] Some strong words from coach Víctor Muñoz seemed to spur Zaragoza in the second half, and his inspiration paid off in the 58th minute, Villa blasting superbly past Safar. Four minutes later the Maños drew level when Galletti made contact with Villa's shot to divert the ball into the back of the net.

Final moments

[8] Sávio could have sealed victory with a glorious chance midway through the half, but his shot sailed agonisingly over. Austria, who knocked out Athletic Club Bilbao in the last round, held on to eliminate another Spanish side on away goals and it is they who look forward to the quarter-final draw tomorrow.

Saša Papac celebrates his goal