A 2-0 win against Bulgaria's CSKA Sofia has kept alive Rapid Vienna's hopes of progressing in the UEFA Europa League. The result was the Austrian team's first victory in Group L.
Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Steffen Hofmann scored in the space of five minutes either side of the half-hour mark to earn Rapid the win. The result moved Peter Pacult's team to within three points of second-placed Besiktas. Defeat left CSKA's hopes of progressing to the knockout stage virtually extinguished and they remain without a point or goal in Group L.
CSKA had the first chance of the game after 11 minutes with Gregory Nelson cutting down the right. Nelson shot just wide of the far left post from a tight angle. The hosts went close again four minutes later but Marquinhos' free-kick curled just over the bar.
Cillian Sheridan then tested Rapid keeper Raimund Hedl after a strong counter-attacking run and shot. But it was the Austrians who went ahead in the 28th minute. Veli Kavlak's corner was headed back by Ragnvald Soma to the far left post where Hesselink volleyed home the opening goal.
The visitors doubled their advantage just four minutes later. Christoph Saurer's cross into the area fell to Hofmann who had time and space to advance with the ball and send a shot into the right corner. Five minutes before the break, CSKA keeper Rais M'Bohli kept his team in the game with a fine stop from Saurer's volley. The hosts rarely threatened to stage a comeback early in the second half, although Marquinhos' header worked Hedl in the 54th minute. Hesselink nearly struck again four minutes later but his header was just too high.
CSKA did carve out three more chances as the game wore on, Spas Delev blasting his shot off the near left post in the 73rd minute and Hedl superbly keeping out a long-range effort seconds later. The Bulgarians were denied by the frame of the goal again with three minutes left as Aleksandar Tonev's cross was deflected off Markus Katzer onto the bar.