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SV Wals Grünau vs. FCPS Match Report

Salzburg Regional League Matchday 1: SV Wals-Grünau 1-3 FC Pinzgau Saalfelden

Wals, August 08 2020

FC Pinzgau Saalfelden marked their return to competitive football after a 273-day absence by beating SV Wals-Grünau 3-1 away from home in the opening game of their 2020/21 Salzburg Regional League campaign. Alfusainey Jatta, Harry Cooksley and Semir Gvozdjar scored the goals as the Mountainous Pine Blues sealed an important three points on the road.

The scenario: FCPS kicked off pre-season with a dominant 5-0 victory over SC Mühlbach and an unlucky 1-1 draw with TSU Bramberg, before suffering a 5-1 defeat at the hands of European giants Olympique de Marseille and narrowly beating FC Kitzbühel 1-0. SV Wals Grünau, meanwhile, were in action three times over the summer. Franz Aigner’s charges recorded wins against Ostermiething (2-1) and Eugendorf (1-0) either side of a 4-1 loss to Gurten.

The action: FCPS head coach Christian Ziege had a full squad at his disposal after left-back Oliver Valentine recovered from the stomach complaints that had been bothering him in the week. The German tactician lined up his team in a 5-3-2 formation with Jatta sitting in front of the defense and Cooksley leading the line alongside Tamas Tandari. Ziege’s counterpart Franz Aigner opted for a 4-3-3 system with Matthias Pichler, who had previously netted three times against the Mountainous Pine Blues, spearheading the attack.

The visitors made a highly impressive start to the match and might have taken the lead after 48 seconds had captain Tandari not fired over with the goal gaping. Opportunities were few and far between in the quarter of an hour that followed, but FCPS started to up the tempo again midway through the first period. Tandari and Gadenstätter both went close after Valentine’s cut-back from the byline in the 20th minute, before Jatta hit the woodwork with a powerful header from a Dominik Kirschner corner on the 27-minute mark.

But the deadlock was eventually broken from another corner 33 minutes into the game, Jatta winning the aerial battle in the box and nodding Kirschner’s set-piece past Valerian Rehrl in the SVWG goal to give the visitors a slender but deserved 1-0 lead at the break.

The second period got off to a less-than-ideal start when a lapse in concentration allowed SVWG danger man Pichler to restore parity in the 55th minute, but FCPS struck back within 60 seconds courtesy of Harry Cooksley’s low effort from a narrow angle. The Englishman had a goal disallowed shortly afterwards and was then cynically brought down by SVWG captain Thomas Pertl – who was perhaps a tad fortunate not to be dismissed for his misdemeanor – as he attempted to break through on Rehrl’s goal.

Cooksley’s failure to put the game to bed with a cheeky chip that sailed agonizingly over the crossbar in the 72nd minute ensured a nervy finish to the game. Christian Ziege replaced Cooksley, Valentine and Gadenstätter with Gvozdjar, Mühlbacher and Moosmann in the closing stages, but it was not until the 93rd minute – when substitute Gvozdjar curled the ball into the top corner – that the points were made safe and FCPS could breathe a sigh of relief.

Next Saturday (15 August) sees FCPS welcome Austria Salzburg to the Saalfelden Arena for their first home game of the season. The Mountainous Pine Blues will then visit Grödig and Seekirchen the following week, before finishing the month at home to Bischofshofen.

The starting line-ups:

FC Pinzgau Saalfelden: Colic, Valentine, Ziege, Kahrimanovic, Schubert, Jatta, Raischl, Gadenstätter, Kirschner, Tandari, Cooksley

SV Wals-Grünau: Rehrl, Schindl, Kanzler, Ebner, Pichler, Scheibenhofer, Pertl, Schnöll, Pössl, Bernhofer, Sturm