Top teams’ face-off ends 1-1

The Austrian Football Bundesliga title race remains a thriller after Austria Vienna snatched one point away from home against leaders Sturm Graz last night (Weds).Roman Kienast found the net for the home side in the 37th minute before ex-Sturm ace Roland Linz equalised the score (41’). Kienast – who joined Sturm last year – currently leads the league score sheet with 19 strikes ahead of Linz who has netted 18 times so far this season. Both teams finished the match with just 10 players on the pitch after Sturm’s Dominic Pürcher (69’) and Austria Vienna striker Nacer Barazite (86’) were sent off.After having beaten Kapfenberg 4-2 on Tuesday, title holders Red Bull Salzburg (RBS) remain in second place, one point ahead of Austria Vienna who came second last season. The Bulls’ board announced earlier this week that Dutchman Ricardo Moniz will remain in charge of the team next season. The former Hamburger SV (HSV) assistant manager was introduced as caretaker coach at RBS after the recent dismissal of Huub Stevens. Former Croatian national team captain Niko Kovac was confirmed as assistant coach by RBS bosses.Rapid Vienna failed to overtake ÖFB Cup finalists SV Ried last night. The Green-Whites put in a disappointing performance against struggling Mattersburg (0-0). A slew of shots from wide angles by midfielders Christopher Drazan and Steffen Hofmann were the only highlights of the game at Gerhard Hanappi Stadium in Vienna. It was the third time in a row that Rapid failed to win a league match. Their most recent three-pointer dates back to last month when Magna Wiener Neustadt – whose match against LASK Linz ended goalless yesterday – were given a 4-1 pounding.SV Ried reached a 1-1 draw away from home against Walter Kogler’s Wacker Innsbruck yesterday. Ried face second-league side Austria Lustenau in the ÖFB Cup final in Vienna on 29 May.The 34th round will be commenced with four matches – including Austria Vienna’s home match against Kapfenberg – this Saturday before RBS travel to Mattersburg the next day. All games will be broadcast live by pay TV channel Sky. National station ORF 1 will show the Sunday match (kick-off: 4pm).The Austrian Bundesliga table after 33 of 36 rounds:Sturm Graz, 57 pointsRed Bull Salzburg, 56Austria Vienna, 55SV Ried, 51Rapid Vienna, 50Wacker Innsbruck, 47Magna Wiener Neustadt, 46Kapfenberg, 35SV Mattersburg, 30LASK Linz, 19