‘Vienna mafia’ allegations as off-side goal serves up victory

Sturm Graz fans accused referees of being bribed by the “Viennese mafia” as Austria Vienna beat their team thanks to an off-side goal.Third-placed Austria Vienna increased their chances to perform in the Europe League next season as Roland Linz found the net in yesterday’s (Sun) 1-0 triumph over the side of Franco Foda.But Karl Daxbacher, coach of the home team, said after the match: “This was clearly a wrong decision. The goal was scored from an off-side position.”Sturm Graz keeper Christian Gratzei was furious. He said: “I wouldn’t complain if it was a tight decision. But Linz stood five metres in off-side position.”And Foda fumed: “Everyone makes mistakes, but such an error must not happen. Austrian referees are getting worse and worse.”Some Austria Vienna players could not stop laughing as they celebrated the goal in the 48th minute.”It was a mistake, I had clear sight – and I’m sorry. It was a blackout and that shouldn’t happen,” linesman Bernhard Zauner admitted after his blunder.While Sturm Graz fans chanted “Vienna mafia! Vienna Mafia!”, midfielder Jakob Jantscher claimed his team had often been disadvantaged when playing against Austria Vienna or Rapid Vienna in the capital.Sturm were the better team in the first half and missed several good chances to score. An attempt by captain Mario Kienzl in the 24th minute came close but only hit the bar.The home side upped their game, but Daxbacher nevertheless claimed Sturm Graz were the better that day.It was the fourth 1-0 win in a row by Austria Vienna.Austria Vienna still got a small chance to win the title. With seven rounds to go, champions Red Bull Salzburg lead the Bundesliga with 65 points after beating tail-lights Austria Kärnten 2-0 on Saturday. German midfielder Simon Cziommer and Cameroonian international Somen Tchoyi found the net.Rapid Vienna are six points down. The team managed by former 1860 Munich ace Peter Pacult beat SV Ried 3-1 on Friday, while Saturday’s match between LASK Linz and Magna Wiener Neustadt ended 1-1.Mattersburg celebrated a 3-1 victory over struggling Kapfenberg on Saturday.The Bundesliga continues tomorrow when Rapid Vienna meet LASK Linz. The other four matches will be played on Wednesday.The Bundesliga table after 29 rounds:Red Bull Salzburg, 65 pointsRapid Vienna, 59Austria Vienna, 56Sturm Graz, 48Magna Wiener Neustadt, 37Mattersburg, 36SV Ried, 32LASK Linz, 31Kapfenberg, 25Austria Kärnten, 11