Round 22 finished with Fradi getting back to winning ways in a close Budapest derby against Lilák while Videoton made a statement with a comprehensive victory over Honvéd in Felcsút. Paks, Vasas and Haladás all got important away victories as well in another story-filled weekend of action.
Debrecen 3-0 Diósgyor
My prediction: Debrecen 2-1 Diósgyor
Under-pressure Debrecen manager Leonel Pontes can thank his players who came to his rescue with a massive 3-0 win over DVTK on Saturday. Diósgyor, who are being piloted by interim boss Zoltan Vitelki, looked flat and without direction just days after sacking their manager Ferenc Horváth.
Debrecen signaled their intent early on with some brilliant counter attacking. Chuka sent new boy Frank Feltscher in behind the defense with an arrowed pass but his finish was deflected away by the advancing Ivan Rados in the Diósgyor goal. Rados, starting in his first game since the break however, looked shaky from then on out. He spilled a Hyun-Jun Suk header on 23 minutes that seemed rather straightforward, and then 7 minutes later he gifted Loki the lead. Attila Osváth was running through unmarked and unleashed a shot from 25 yards that hit Rados, off the underside of the bar and over the line. It was an awful goal but just what the hosts needed to prime the pump.
With Rados exposed it was open-season on the DVTK keeper and Debrecen scored again from distance just four minutes after the first. Suk played the ball to János Ferenczi on the left flank and Ferenczi lashed a low drive across the goal and inside the far post from 30 yards. It was an incredible goal but should have been saved by the 33 year-old keeper.
Poor goalkeeping must have been contagious as Branislav Danilovic almost gifted the visitors a way back into the game when his misguided pass to Dániel Tozsér instead fell to Ákos Elek who had a go from distance but his shot went over the unguarded Debrecen goal.
The visitors came close in the opening minutes of the second half when a right wing cross found Ákos Szarka diving onto the ball at the far post but his header came back off the upright.
Debrecen responded with a tight-angled shot from Ferenczi that stung the hands of Rados, and then a Suk shot from distance came back off the crossbar. Loki were buzzing and shortly after, a pass to Suk was deftly knocked on for Feltscher who drilled a long range shot that deflected off of Suk’s back and dipped into the upper corner on the hour to make it 3-0. It was the Venezuelan’s first goal since joining Debrecen over the break. Suk was quality throughout and this was easily his best performance since joining on loan from Porto last month.
When the final whistle blew it was bound to be music to Leonel Pontes’ ears as his side played a masterclass that extended his term for at least another week.
Gyirmót 1-2 Haladás
My prediction: Gyirmót 1-1 Haladás
Gyirmót’s semi-renaissance ended in inglorious fashion as they fell 2-1 at home to Haladás. The game wasn’t six minutes old when Gyirmót keeper Zsolt Sebok was fishing the ball out his own net. Sebok had come way off his line to punch a cross off the head of his own defender. The ball fell to an unmarked Peter Halmosi who calmly stroked a left-footed shot into the open goal.
The hosts looked to equalize shortly after when a Gábor Bori pass found Csanád Novák gliding into the box but his shot dipped just over the bar. Haladás’ defense looked terrible in stretches but Gyirmót were unable to take advantage. Bebeto was played in by Patrik Vass but the big Senegalese striker fired over on 25 minutes. Next, it was a free kick from Krisztián Tamás that required a tip over the bar by Gábor Király. The hosts were in the ascendency and deserved an equalizer but life’s not always fair. Minutes later Hali’s Predrag Bosnjak played a delightful ball over the top to Lóránt Kovács who beat the offside trap and chipped Sebok for 2-0 before wheeling away in delight.
Sebok kept his side in the game a minute later when he made a double save on David Williams and Kovács as Gyirmót’s defense began to unravel.
That didn’t stop the hosts from attacking, however, and they continued to apply pressure at the other end. Mijusko Bojovic’s header off a free kick looked promising, but Király was positioned well to collect the ball easily. Gyirmót did get a well-deserved consolation late on when a right wing cross from Oleksiy Antonov flashed across goal and was tucked home at the back post by Anto Radeljic.
Hali held out the final minutes for an important three points to stay within touching distance of the top four with a game in hand.
Mezőkövesd 0-2 Vasas
My prediction: Mezőkövesd 3-2 Vasas
Mezőkövesd was looking to rebound from a 5-0 spanking from Paks last week but they were unable to find the net for a second consecutive game as hard-working Vasas returned to winning ways. The defeat ended a run of 5 consecutive wins at home for Mezo while giving Vasas an important boost to keep in pace with the title chasers.
Vasas took a first half lead when a long free kick was headed back across the goal by Tamás Vaskó to Mahir Saglik side-footed off the post. The rebound fell to Kire Ristevski who smashed a low drive through traffic and past Dávid Dombó on 20 minutes.
Dombó never ceases to amaze me how he can make simple saves look so complex. Mahir Saglik let loose from over 40 yards and Dombó found himself scrambling to bundle the ball away at his left hand post.
Vasas doubled their lead early in the second half when Szilveszter Hangya made a run from midfield and burst into the area on the left side. He pulled the ball back for Zsombor Berecz who had the time to take a touch and fire the ball off the far post in to the back of the net. Dombó never moved.
Mezőkövesd had a gilt-edged chance to get back in the game when Marek Streštik unleashed a drive from outside the area that clattered the far post. The rebound was collected by Gábor Molnár who chipped a dangerous ball in for Lazar Veselinovic who could only head over from close range.
The visitors should have had a third when Saglik played a slide rule pass in for Mohamed Remeli who swept it past the onrushing keeper but it rolled just wide of the far post. Unlucky.
More woodwork for the hosts on 57 minutes when Molnár hit the post from close range and Streštik was there to collect the rebound and fire off the crossbar. Molnar kicked the post in disgust.
There were more chances at both ends that required better finishing but neither side were able to find the game’s third goal. It was another disappointing performance from Tomislav Sivic’s squad who have created opportunities but have been unable to find the target in over 180 minutes of league football.
MTK Budapest 1-2 Paks
My prediction: MTK Budapest 2-0 Paks
MTK lost their second consecutive home match to a resurgent Paks side who have now won four of their last five. Coming off their first away win all season there was hope MTK could push on despite the absence of Sándor Torghelle but that wasn’t to be. They were the more industrious side in the opening minutes, but it was discipline that put them behind early.
Ádám Vass fouled Dénes Szakály inside the box on corner which allowed Richárd Vernes to put Paks ahead as he converted easily from the spot on 12 minutes.
The visitors had their tails up at that point and their second came 10 minutes later from another corner. Zsolt Haraszti’s delivery was headed on by Szakály to János Szabó who, ignored as he crept into the area, stepped in front of Dániel Vadnai at the last moment to tap home and put the visitors up 2-0.
MTK were rattled and their attacks lacked any real danger. They had numerous set pieces but wasted those opportunities with poor delivery or poor execution. Paks defense looked well-organized and forced the hosts to shoot from distance. However, they were handed an injury time consolation when László Bartha was adjudged to have taken down Myke inside the area. It was a dubious call and seemed a bit patronizing as József Kanta stroked home the penalty, but it wouldn’t change the result as Paks got maximum points and crept closer to the top four.
Videoton 3-0 Honvéd
My prediction: Videoton 3-1 Honvéd
Videoton are a machine and even more so at Pancho Aréna. Touted as a clash of two title hopefuls, Vidi handed Honvéd their worst defeat of the season on Saturday. It was Videoton’s eighth win in their last nine home matches, allowing them to crawl back on top of the NB1 heap.
The hosts got right to work with Asmir Suljik bursting into the area on the left side on 7 minutes. He was looking for Marko Scepovic with a low cross inside the six-yard box, but the ball was deflected wide of the far post.
Honvéd almost got lucky when a Djordje Kamber shot from range deflected off of Vidi captain Roland Juhász and headed for the bottom corner, but a marvelous save from Ádám Kovácsik kept it out.
Then, when it seemed like Kispest had begun to get some possession and some flow, Videoton did what they do best and hit back on the counter. Their opener was the best goal of the round and it started with Loïc Nego stepping in front of a Kamber pass and playing it quickly ahead for Scepovic. With a turn and a clever flick, Scepovic played it to Danko Lazovic who took one stride before playing a defense-splitting pass in for Suljic. Being cut off by two defenders, Suljic teed it up for Lazovic with a back heel and Lazovic beat Dávid Gróf with a sublime chip in stride that landed softly into the back of the net.
Minutes later it was Nego who had to come to the host’s rescue when a corner evaded everyone in the box and looked headed inside the far post, but the Videoton right back was in position and headed brilliantly off the line.
Early in the second half a Davide Lanzafame free kick was curled toward the top corner but Kovácsik was equal to the task and dove to his left to push it from danger.
The turning point in the game came just after the hour when Ivan Lovric was sent off for a second yellow. His leg went high in an aerial challenge with Varga and Mr. Andó-Szabó gave him his ticket to an early shower.
Andó-Szabó was at the center of attention once more when he awarded a penalty on 76 minutes after Lazovic was fouled just inside the area going for a cross. The call was unpopular with Honvéd manager Marco Rossi, but replays show the decision was correct and Marko Scepovic doubled the host’s lead with an expertly taken spot kick.
At that point it was all over but for the crying and Lazovic polished the game off with his second after another nifty back heel from Varga. 3-0 to Videoton and they’re back on top of the league.
Újpest 2-2 Ferencváros
My prediction: Újpest 0-1 Ferencváros
Ferencváros won their first league match of the calendar year 1-0 over Újpest in the Budapest derby. It wasn’t pretty but it was effective as they made some changes from their midweek squad against Honvéd in the Magyar Kupa.
Újpest came to play in front of their home fans – over 8,000 in their first game back at Szusza Ferenc Stadion – and they pressed for an early goal.
With the crowd behind him, Nemanja Andric skipped down the left wing, cut inside a defender and struck a dipping shot that skimmed Dénes Dibusz’s right-hand post.
Lilák manager Nebojsa Vignjevic looked pleased as his side continued to show signs of intent. A Dávid Mohl cross dropped into a crowd of players and was met by the head of Balázs Balogh who directed the ball just wide of the far post.
However, against the run of play, Fradi took the lead. A free kick from Zoltán Gera found a seam in the wall and deflected off a Újpest player past a wrong-footed Szabolcs Balajcza.
The champions should have doubled their lead before the break when Janek Sternberg was tricked his way into the area and had the goal at his mercy but Balajcza came off his line quickly to block the shot.
After the break the hosts looked for an equalizer and if they couldn’t get one the conventional way they looked ready to use more “creative” measures as substitute János Lázok attempted to turn a far post cross home with his outstretched left hand but it was still out of his range. Perhaps he thought no one was watching ….
Újpest went back to more conventional measures as Balogh sent in a corner that was missed by Dibusz and bounced across an unguarded goal but no one was quick enough to react and the chance went begging.
The best chance for Lilák came on 75 minutes when Mohl sent in a towering cross from the left wing to József Windecker who headed down for Lázok coming through the middle, but Lázok’s volley skied over the bar when it seemed easier to score.
Notable for Újpest was the insertion of Kylian Hazard with seven minutes remaining. It was his first appearance of the season after a long recovery from injury but it didn’t change the result as Ferencváros held out for their 99th league win in this epic derby.