NB1 – round 32 review

What a weekend in NB1 as both Honvéd and Videoton won their games meaning the league is perfectly poised for the most dramatic of finishes. The two pacesetters will play a title showdown in the last ever match at Boszik Stadion on Saturday which is likely to even dim the enthusiasm of another little match down the road at the same time.
The number of possible relegation candidates remaining was reduced to 3 as Újpest and Mezőkövesd won their games. Read on for a complete review of all of this weekend’s action.

Újpest 2-1 Haladás
My prediction: Újpest 1-1 Haladás

Late Bardhi strike returns Lilák to winning ways
Újpest ended their run of three consecutive defeats with their first home win since December. Enis Bardhi’s late strike assured them of maximum points and mathematically reach safety from the drop.
Szobolcs Balajcza made his first start in goal since 1 April and had to be sharp early on as a floating ball into the area turned into a bullet header by David Williams. Balajcza made an expert save and held on.
Lilák used their pace to hit Haladás on the break with Nemanja Andric running onto a long ball and drilling a left-footed shot into side netting in the 7th minute. It was close for the hosts and for Andric, but not as close as his attempt from the edge of the area ten minutes later that required a tip from Haladás keeper Gábor Király to keep it out.
Király had to be vigilant again a few minutes later when a cross from the left off a short corner stunt found Dávid Mohl unmarked, but his header was blocked by the experienced stopper and score remained level at 0-0.
Haladás continued to defense poorly and Enis Bardhi took advantage by holding off a defender and passing the ball into space inside the area. Balázs Balogh had the time to turn the ball onto his left foot before smashing home a low drive past Király and inside the near post to give the hosts a deserved lead. It was his fourth of the season.
If this was to be Balajcza’s last game he was doing it in style. He made a good punch on another long ball into the area then pulled off a great save from a stinging Williams volley early in the second half.
The visitors did level later in the second half after Kristof Szucs clumsily tripped up Péter Halmosi from behind as he tracked a through ball into the area. József Erdös awarded the penalty and booked the young defender. Williams made no mistake this time as he powered his spot kick under Balajcza’s despairing dive to his right.
There was a sense that this was Újpest’s day as József Windecker drilled a low shot just past the far post from the edge of the area. Bardhi confirmed it with a great free kick that went through the wall and bounced before finding it’s way inside the near post. Király rightfully berated his defenders as the Macedonian Magician wheeled away in delight with the crowd showering him with grateful adulation.

Debrecen 2-5 Honvéd
My prediction: Debrecen 1-1 Honvéd

Koszta hat trick puts Kispest in command
Márk Koszta scored the league’s second hat trick of the season to lead Honvéd past Debrecen and retain their advantage in the title race. Loki made it interesting with two quick goals in the second half but Kispest kept their cool and finished the job late on.
The visitors wasted little time and were 1-0 up within 5 minutes. Koszta ran onto a long ball over the top from Csaba Szatmári and fired a left-footed volley from a tight angle. The shot was initially blocked but Koszta switched to his right foot and slotted the rebound through the keeper’s legs for the early lead.
Loki were handed a way back in to the game when Norbert Könyves was clearly fouled as he ran onto a ball inside the area and the referee didn’t hesitate to point to the spot. Dávid Holman stepped up confidently to take the shot but Dávid Gróf guessed correctly and made an outstanding save to deny the equalizer. It was a shot in the arm for the title chasers and they began to take over.
Debrecen’s defense were pushed up and lacked concentration as Koszta played a great ball in behind a very flat back three and Márton Eppel drifted onto the ball and had enough time to settle the ball before firing past Branislav Danilovic to double their lead.
Then, no one picked up on Patrick Ikenne-King’s run down the right but Davide Lanzafame spotted him and fed him with a nice leading pass. Ikenne-King looked up and curled a pinpoint ball just behind the defenders to Koszta who connected with the ball and finished at the far post for his second and his team’s third.
Loki began to fight back a bit in the second half and luck is as good as skill if it counts on the scoresheet. Luck is what got them back into this one when a Holman free kick hit the bar, rebounded off of Aleksandar Jovanovic and in to make it 3-1. He never knew what hit him, but Jovanovic claimed it all the same.
Seven minutes later Daniel Toszer’s corner somehow evaded a clutch of bodies inside the box and was met by substitute Hyun-Jun Suk’s snap header to draw the hosts within one. The quick fire double caused a bit of panic in the ranks of the visitors but they stemmed the tide an battled back to finish the game off.
Eppel grabbed a second, and his league-leading 15th goal of the season, when he placed a lovely headed beyond the keeper’s reach off a lovely cross from Gergő Nagy, and Koszta put the gloss on the win and completed his hat trick as he was able to skip through Debrecen’s box before driving a shot inside the near post with the final kick of the game.

MTK Budapest 0-0 Diósgyor
My prediction: MTK Budapest 1-1 Diósgyor

MTK and Diósgyor misfire in drab draw
This match was as drab and flat as the concrete walls behind both goals at Hideguti Nándor Stadion. Neither side really grabbed control of the game and the first half highlights were scarce. Myke Ramos turned inside a defender and fired over the bar from close range for MTK on 13 minutes, but the best chance of the first came at the other end. Gábor Makrai’s floating cross from the right found Ákos Szarka ghosting in at the back post, but Szarka’s header hit side netting with the goal at his mercy.
MTK were having trouble clearing their lines in the second half and the long throws by Gábor Eperjesi were causing panic in the host’s penalty area. One such throw was only cleared as far as DVTK skipper Soma Novothny and his shot skimmed the outside of the far post on 63 minutes. There would have been some controversy if it had gone in as it was clear that he controlled the ball with his arm before taking the shot.
MTK looked uninspired and outmuscled throughout the second half. It was one-way traffic for Diósgyor who always looked the more likely to score. In the end it was a fair result, but one that didn’t help MTK who are still in need of a victory next week to escape the drop. A win over Paks next week will secure their safety no matter how the other matches go. Anything other than maximum points will send them down.

Mezőkövesd 3-2 Paks
My prediction: Mezőkövesd 1-3 Paks

Mezőkövesd reach safety thanks to Gohér’s late heroics
Mikulas Radvanyi’s Magyar Kupa squad rotation gamble worked as his fully rested starting squad posted Mezőkövesd’s first win in six league games to stave off relegation at the first time of asking.
The pouring rain didn’t do much for the flow of the game early on, but on 38 minutes Mezőkövesd’s Marek Streštik burst down the left side and curled a dangerous cross in for Stipe Bacelic-Grgic who bundled the ball on frame. At first the shot looked to be clawed out by Paks goalkeeper Péter Molnár but the goal was given within seconds as the ball was adjudged to have gone over the line. It was an inauspicious start for the guests but they were back on level terms on the hour as Tamás Báló crossed from almost the same patch as Streštik and found Dávid Kulcsár rising highest in the area to head a floater back across goal an into the upper corner.
Mezőkövesd didn’t allow their heads to drop and were soon back on top as Ulysse Diallo scored his first goal since October with a well-placed header that evaded Molnár at full stretch.
The hosts almost scuttled the 3 points, however, as Paks were awarded a late penalty. A cross into the area looked to have hit the arm of Tamás Szeles and Lajos Bertus calmly slotted home the spot kick to knot the score at 2-2.
There was a sting in the tail of this one though as the hosts pulled out a winner in the darkest reaches of injury time. With time running out Gergö Gohér lined up one last free kick and he curled a season-saving shot into the near upper corner from 25 yards with Molnár rooted to the spot. Cue the player pile-on at the corner flag with the Mezo faithful in full celebration mode. The victory meant that one non-promoted team from last season will certainly be relegated this season.

Gyirmót 1-2 Vasas
My prediction: Gyirmót 1-2 Vasas

Vasas seize control of third place with victory at Gyirmót
Zsombor Berecz’s 67th minute goal extended Gyirmót’s winless run to eight games while allowing Vasas to slip past Ferencváros into third place.
Vasas started the game in stunning fashion as Tamás Kulcsár gave them the lead just nine minutes in. The hosts had failed to deal with a ball in their own end allowing Kulcsár to hit a looping shot over the goalkeeper and under the bar from distance. It was a thing of beauty, struck with style, and the Vasas forward spun away to celebrate his second goal of the season.
Vasas began an onslaught after that, weaving and spinning through defenders like pylons but unable to grab a second. Berecz schooled six (count ‘em six!) defenders before waiting to pull the trigger only to see his close range shot blocked on 13 minutes.
Szilveszter Hangya drilled a good looking shot off a set piece over the bar toward the end of the opening half.
Gyirmót came out strong to start the second half and fashioned an equalizer ten minutes in. It was more precision than power when Norbert Csiki collected a pass inside the area and chipped Gergely Nagy who was in position, but Csiki’s placement was better. It was great vision by the 26-year old for just his first goal of the season.
Vasas wrested back control as the second half wore on and Berecz’s goal came from a flowing move that started with a burst through the center by the goal-scorer himself. Berecz drew the defense as he dashed for the top of the area before pushing it out wide. Hangya passed the ball from the left to Kulcsár who teed it up for Berecz. With the defense at sixes and sevens, Berecz had the time to make a settling touch and place his shot into the bottom corner for the winner. It looked like a training ground exercise, finished with aplomb.
A couple of minutes later Berecz should have had his second when he met a corner with a great volley that was somehow kept out by the flailing Oleksandr Nad.
It was just about over for the hosts after Gergo Szalánszki was dismissed for a full-blooded challenge on Vasas defender Zsolt Korcsmár with 11 minutes remaining. Vasas held on to creep past Ferencváros into third place.

Videoton 4-1 Ferencváros
My prediction: Videoton 1-0 Ferencváros

Vidi fight back against Fradi to set up epic title clash
With the knowledge that Honvéd had won earlier in the day, Videoton knew they had to win at Pancho Aréna to even have a chance to win the title. It didn’t start out the way they planned when they fell behind to an own-goal from Loïc Nego. It was off a corner kick and a shot came in from the edge of the area but deflected off of Nego’s shins and past Ádám Kovácsic.
Things started to unravel and the usually cool Henning Berg began to show signs of frustration on the touchline until the 35th minute. Asmir Suljic drove down the left wing and crossed into the box where Danko Lazovic flew in and volleyed a wonderful strike past Dénes Dibusz to level the match at 1-1. Pan to the sideline where Henning Berg, with both arms raised in triumph and composure on his face, exuded the caption: “Behold, the Ice Man cometh!”
Seven minutes later Vidi were ahead off a corner. Roland Juhász headed Lazovic’s offering off the bar, but Stopira was there to nod home from close range. Bedlam in Felcsút.
It wasn’t over.
Suljic was magical. He was everywhere and was finding space like a five-star real estate agent. As Videoton broke on the counter with Nego surging through the middle, Suljic drifted out to the left. Nego played a slide rule pass in for Marko Scepovic who pushed it on for Suljic on the left. Suljic’s attempted cross for Lazovic hit Julian Koch who deflected into his own goal. That made it 3-1 and the Vidi faithful were elated as the halftime whistle blew.
Thomas Doll rang in the changes at the break, bringing off Zoltán Gera and István Bognár for Lázsló Kleinheisler and Vladan Cukic respectively.
With the game well in hand at the hour mark, Berg substituted Lazovic for Krizstián Gerési and later introduced Mirko Maric for the injured Attila Fiola. It was Maric that scored at the end to cap the scoring and send the fans home knowing that they still have a chance to win the title … and it promises to be an epic clash.