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Efficient Rapid breeze by CSKA

PFC CSKA Sofia 0-2 SK Rapid Wien
First-half goals from Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Steffen Hofmann helped the visitors pick up their first points in Group L.

Steffen Hofmann celebrates scoring Rapid's second in Sofia
Steffen Hofmann celebrates scoring Rapid's second in Sofia ©Getty Images

SK Rapid Wien won the battle of the bottom sides in UEFA Europa League Group L as a pair of first-half goals helped them ease to a 2-0 away win at PFC CSKA Sofia.

The visitors started in lacklustre fashion but Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink's 28th-minute strike gave Rapid a lift, and Steffen Hofmann struck again soon after to put Peter Pacult's side well on top. The Austrian club did not look in any trouble thereafter, holding out to earn their first points and consign their hosts to a third straight loss.

Neither side had looked particularly dangerous early on, with CSKA providing the only semblance of threat in the early stages, Cillian Sheridan forcing Raimund Hedl into a smart save. Both defences appeared untroubled, but when the opener came it could not have been more straightforward: Veli Kavlak's outswinging corner was touched on by Ragnvald Soma and Vennegoor of Hesselink was on hand to poke in from close range.

If that goal had come out the blue, CSKA were further shocked within four minutes when Hofmann arrived late to pick up Markus Katzer's low cross and had the luxury of taking a couple of touches before sliding the ball into the bottom corner. Christoph Saurer then had a swivelling volley turned away by Raïs M'Bolhi as CSKA clung on before the break.

The hosts renewed their efforts but the belief was with Rapid. Their early hesitancy had given way to slick precision with Saurer and Kavlak causing the CSKA back line particular consternation. The latter nearly supplied a second for Vennegoor of Hesselink before Gjorgi Jovanovski's side finally began to stir. Spas Delev first hit the post and then brought the best out of Hedl, but it was too little, too late.

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