Austria Wien has laid a very good basis for promotion to the play-off of the Football Conference League. The Viennese won the first leg of the third qualifying round at Legia Warsaw 2-1 (1-0) on Thursday. Thanks to a brace from Muharem Huskovic (11′, 56′), Austria have all the trumps in their home game next Thursday (7 p.m.). Ernest Muci prevented an even better starting position with his goal in the 87th minute.
Huskovic only made his starting XI debut against Lustenau at the weekend after his serious car accident last October, also played as a central striker in Warsaw and became the match winner. In top scorer style, the 20-year-old took the lead after a cross from Dominik Fitz and also scored to make it 2-0 after a cross from Manuel Polster.
Coach Michael Wimmer surprised the line-up. Manfred Fischer, who had played all five games so far, was only on the bench for the time being. Even without the regular captain, the Violets implemented their promise to be courageous and work well against the ball very well.
The early attack quickly brought success. After a bad pass from Juergen Elitim in his own penalty area, Fitz Huskovic served ideally, the 20-year-old only needed to score his first European Cup goal. Reinhold Ranftl and Huskovic (16th each) had good chances to make it 2-0 before the Polish runner-up and record champion also became a threat.
Goalkeeper Christian Früchtl saved the lead several times, especially when Pawel Wszolek fired a shot from ten meters out, but Früchtl was able to clear with a foot defense (33′). Austria were also lucky shortly before the break when referee Pierre Gaillouste did not classify Lucas Galvao’s tackle from behind in the penalty area against Wszolek as a foul.
Legia made the game after the break, but Austria, who had to replace defender Tin Plavotic in the early minutes, were mostly secure on the defensive. The Wimmer-Elf attacked again and again and was successful with it. Huskovic headed in a cross from the cushion that had been substituted during the break to make it 2-0.
Warsaw then intensified their offensive efforts again and put the guests under pressure, but Pekhart missed (57′, 79′) and the excellent Früchtl was once again on the post (57′, 77′). On the other side, Silva Kani ran alone to the home goal, but failed (86th). It should take revenge, Muci gives the Poles more hope with his header. Nevertheless, Austria has the best chance of winning the third duel with Legia after 2004 and 2006.
Should Austria manage to get promoted, they will have to face Denmark’s FC Midtjylland or Omonia Nicosia on August 24th and 31st for a place in the group stage. Omonia won the first leg on Cyprus 1-0.