NB1 – round 29 review

Both Honvéd and Videoton set the pace heading into the final four match days while Vasas fell just short this week. Fradi won but it might be a case of “too little, to late” for the reigning champions. Paks continued their free fall while Diósgyor continues to impress. Read on for a complete review of Saturday’s games.
I don’t get the opportunity to toot my own horn very often so forgive me for this – BOY did I do well on my predictions this week! After some pretty awful weeks I rebounded with four correct picks and two perfect scores. Feel free to pat my back on Twitter if you get a chance. (*wink)

Ferencváros 3-1 Mezőkövesd
My prediction: Ferencváros 3-1 Mezőkövesd

Böde brace keeps champions in the hunt
This one was over almost before it started. After scoring 8 goals in the Magyar Kupa semifinal earlier in the week, Ferencváros were still in the mood and scored 3 before Mezőkövesd even knew what hit them.
Mezo keeper Tomas Tujvel was under pressure from the start, making a near-post save on Amadou Moutari in the opening minutes and then denying Dániel Böde with a full-stretch save on 18. The opener came minutes after when a flowing move by the champions ended with Böde’s 10th goal of the season. Roland Varga played a nice one-two with István Bognár before setting up Böde at the top of the area. The Fradi hitman delighted the crowd with a clinical finish beyond the reach of Tujvel.
Incredibly enough, Tujvel made another two saves before Zoltán Gera made it 2-0 just 3 minutes later. Fradi were relentless in pressure and they looked like a world class team as they bossed Mezo’s defense like an older brother in a schoolyard game. A series of quick touches ended with Böde teeing up Gera at the top of the box, and the 38 year-old struck a ferocious drive that gave Tujvel no chance.
The third goal snuck up on everyone quietly as a quick corner from Varga was squeezed inside the near post by a glancing header from Böde. Nobody picked up his run and he was able to reach the cross unhindered. It was poor defending from the visitors.
Mezőkövesd were able to pull one back before the break as Ferencváros decided to put on their own clinic of bad defending. Bence Sós ran down a probing ball on the left as Fradi scrambled back to cover the counterattack. Sós whipped a cross from the left that evaded two defenders and goalkeeper Ádám Holczer through the six-yard box. Gábor Molnár got on the end of it at the far post and tapped back across goal to make it 3-1.
The game opened up in the second half as the visitors pressed for goals. Mezo were held to outside shots and set pieces that couldn’t find the target. Fradi were looking to hit on the counter and they came close a couple of times but where unable to extend their lead. Tujvel made a number of quality saves to keep the score line respectable in the final 10 minutes. It was good win for the champions who still technically remain in the title race but with only four games remaining and 8 points separating them from the top it’s looking far less hopeful.

Honvéd 1-0 Gyirmót
My prediction: Honvéd 2-0 Gyirmót

Lanzafame’s late winner stuns Gyirmót
Unable to find the target away from home lately, Honvéd looked to have been suffering from the same malady at home until Davide Lanzafame scored deep into injury time to keep pace with Videoton at the top of the league.
Gyirmót had the opening chances with a long free kick and a close range header in the early stages, but both flew over the bar without troubling Kispest keeper Dávid Gróf.
Lanzafame almost made a dramatic opening with a bicycle kick that was well struck but missed the target on 26 minutes. Lanzafame’s industry did create a great chance for Márton Eppel who directed the Italian’s cross beyond the keeper on 38 minutes, but referee Gergely Szöts adjudged that his foot was too high and gave a free kick to Gyirmót as the ball was being fished out of the back of the net.
Honvéd had a chance to take the lead before the break when Lanzafame was clipped by Gábor Bori after collecting a pass at the edge of the area, and Mr. Szöts pointed to the spot. Márton Eppel drilled home the penalty, but a re-kick was ordered as some Honvéd players encroached. The second attempt was saved well by Oleksandr Nad.
Key saves from both keepers on either side of the break kept the game goalless. Honvéd’s Gróf stopped a point blank volley off a corner kick, and then early in the second half Nad equaled his opposite number by pulling off a solid save at his near post on a Márk Koszta shot.
Kispest were in the ascendancy the rest of the way and Lanzafame was at the heart of their best moves. He did draw a point blank shot wide, however, and Donát Zsótér skimmed the top of the bar with a shot from the edge of the area as the match entered the final stages.
Botond Baráth’s close range shot was also pushed away at the near post, and when Honvéd wasted a slew of injury time corners it looked as if the hosts would have to settle for a point. But fate had one last remaining ray of light for Kispest. A long throw from Djordje Kamber was headed on by Eppel to Lanzafame who was able to glance a looping header that hit off the underside of the bar and in. It was madness as the Italian ripped off his shirt, evading his teammates until he ran out his adrenaline, and was eventually overwhelmed by his teammates as they heaped on in celebration. Of course Lanzafame was booked for taking off his shirt but I don’t think he thought twice about it.
Incredibly enough, Honvéd could have scored another as Gyirmót pushed everyone up for a last gasp free kick but it was poorly taken. The loose ball fell to Zsótér who attempted an impossible shot from 80 meters but bounced agonizingly wide to the sound of the final whistle.

Haladás 2-0 Paks
My prediction: Haladás 2-0 Paks

Haladás continue Paks’ woes
Haladás took advantage of Paks’ poor form and sent them to their third defeat in a row. David Williams took a back seat this week to András Jancsó and Bence Iszlai who led the way while Paks were kept off the score sheet for a third consecutive game.
The hosts took an early lead when a free kick was poorly dealt with by the Paks’ defense and the rebound fell to Jancsó at the top of the box. The big defensive midfielder took a settling touch and drilled a volley low past goalkeeper Péter Molnár.
Haladás continued to pounce on the uninspired Paks’ side as David Williams drilled a left-footed drive just wide, and Jancsó almost doubled his tally when he shook off a defender and was in behind but his shot deflected off a late lunge from a trailing defender and Molnár collected easily.
Haladás did finally double their advantage off another set piece. This time it was a corner that was headed on by Márk Jagodics and met by Iszlai’s diving header past Molnár who never had a chance.

Újpest 1-2 MTK Budapest
My prediction: Újpest 1-1 MTK Budapest

Hrepka strike sinks Lilák
Szusza Ferenc Stadion might by Újpest’s home but it’s not a friendly place for them right now as they played their fifth consecutive game there without victory. Ádám Hrepka’s late winner the latest in a season of late defensive lapses for Lilák.
Újpest provided all the early pressure and if wasn’t for the quick reflexes of MTK goalkeeper Danijel Petkovic, János Lázok’s 18th minute header would have put the hosts ahead.
MTK took the lead in first half injury time thanks to a penalty from Sándor Torghelle – his team-leading 9th goal of the season. Lilák had a chance to level when Balázs Balogh rose highest and headed a Dávid Mohl cross off the bar right at the half time whistle.
Then, seconds into the second half then Benjámin Cseke played a slide rule pass in for substitute Mihailo Perovic but the keeper got a trailing leg onto the shot and the ball was cleared.
Újpest thought they had won a penalty on 78 minutes when Perovic went down in the area but their appeals were ignored by referee István Vad. Six minutes later, however, the hosts were awarded a penalty and Enis Bardhi converted with authority to draw the hosts level.
It wasnt’ to be, however, as Hrepka controlled a loose ball inside the Újpest area and slotted it past David Banai for the later winner.

Diósgyor 2-1 Vasas
My prediction: Diósgyor 2-2 Vasas

10-man DVTK saved by Makrai winner
Vasas dropped off the title pace by being the latest scalp for newly-recharged Diósgyor. Tamás Bódog’s men were able to battle against the odds to take all the points in front of a good size home crowd at Városi Stadion in Mezőkövesd.
The hosts wasted little time to take the lead and rewarded a vocal home crowd just six minutes in. A long, curling cross from Diego Vela was met by the perfectly-timed jump of Ákos Szarka who headed the ball off the fingertips of a backpedaling Gergely Nagy and into the back of the net. It was Szarka’s first goal of the season in his 9th appearance.
The crowd swelled again as DVTK looked set to double their lead on 24 minutes when Soma Novothny broke free down the right on a counter attack with Roland Ugrai in support. As Novothny approached the area he cut the the ball across for Ugrai whose shot flashed wide of the post.
Dejan Karan continued to impress and his free kick from the left was flicked on inside the area, just past the far post as Vasas dodged another bullet before the half hour.
Vasas had their chances but a poorly directed header from Mahir Saglik and a weak shot from Mohamed Remeli weren’t enough to beat Botond Antal in the DVTK goal. The half ended with Ugrai tiptoeing his was through the Vasas defense and just missing with a curled shot that drifted away from the far, upper corner.
The start of the second half saw Vasas come into the game a bit more. Remeli worked his way into a good shooting position and forced a save from close range in the opening minute. Next it was Manjrekar James setting up substitute Tamás Kulcsár at the top of the six yard box, but his shot hit side netting.
The visitors finally leveled on 71 minutes when a Remeli free kick looked to have drifted too far over everyone before Tamás Vásko somehow managed to head it back into the mixer where Felix Burmeister nodded it home. It was his second goal in as many games for Vasas.
Controversy arose late in the second half when Diósgyor skipper Zoltán Lipták was dismissed for allegedly hitting Burmeister in the midsection as Vasas were lining up for another free kick. Referee Viktor Kassai didn’t hesitate to show a straight red and bedlam ensued as Lipták went nose to nose with Kassai and slapped away his hand as he tried to state his case. Lipták was livid as he was shepherded off the pitch by his teammates and the hosts resumed play a man down.
But football has a way of equaling things out and Vasas’ poor defending in the final minutes cost them as DVTK substitute Gábor Makrai was allowed a big touch to the left of the goal and he drifted inside a static defense and curled home the winner beyond Nagy and inside the far post.

Videoton 3-2 Debrecen
My prediction: Videoton 3-1 Debrecen

Loki rally falls short as Vidi keep pace
With the knowledge that Honvéd had won in dramatic fashion earlier in the day, Videoton knew what was at stake in this one as they welcomed the return of Danko Lazovic and scored 3 goals as team for the first time since early March.
Debrecen goalkeeper Branislav Danilovic had to time to ease into the game as he found himself making 3 consecutive saves in the opening minutes as Videoton looked to pounce early.
The hosts took the lead when Lazovic played a great ball in behind for Marko Scepovic who controlled the ball and sent in a mid-level cross that was knocked past Danilovic by his own defender, Norbert Mészáros, in the 9th minute.
Lazovic’s brilliance was the difference as he continued to carve open the Loki back line. A beautifully stroked pass through to Loïc Nego required a fantastic save from Danilovic as he met the midfielder at the top of his penalty area to make the save. The rebound fell to to Máté Pátkai who just missed the open goal with a skidding shot.
Debrecen drew level against the run of play when Norbert Könyves collected a pass at the top of the area, turned and curled an unstoppable shot past Ádám Kovácsik who was rooted to the spot.
Scepovic deservedly put Videoton back on top just before the hour on another move started by Lazovic. The Serbian was being hauled down before he played a clever ball through for Nego who was already running into the space. Nego swept the ball across the box to the waiting Scepovic to tapped it home for 2-1.
Loki’s David Holman tested Kovácsik from distance before Videoton increased their lead 9 minutes from time. Pátkai picked up a loose ball and ran into the heart of the Debrecen defense before dipping his shoulder and playing the ball the other way for Anel Hadzic who chipped the keeper to double their lead.
The visitors pulled one back a couple of minutes later as substitute Justin Mengolo crossed for Haris Handzic who missed the kick but the ball deflected off the inside of his leg and wrong-footed Kovácsik setting up a tense final few minutes, but Videoton held on bravely to get the 3 points.

Author: Chris Barrett

Let me take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Chris Barrett and I have played and coached football for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been fascinated by this sport all over the world and follow more leagues than the number of years behind me. I am not Hungarian, nor I have I lived in Hungary. Honestly, I decided to follow NBI this season (2016-17) because I’ve always admired the rich history of this country and its contribution to the evolution of tactics and strategy within the game. I’ve enjoyed watching the current national squad become more competitive over the years and I, like many other football fans from around the world, loved watching their story unfold in the Euros this past summer. I was born and raised in the United States which tends to makes me less credible in some circles and I understand that bias, but I’m working hard to understand not just the sport but the people and culture of Hungary. Thanks to Tomasz for allowing me to cut my teeth on this site, and to Gayle who has enlightened me on the culture (and drama) of the officiating side of things. Also a shout out to Gáby who has always made me feel welcome and has answered a lot of my early questions. I’m very grateful for the whole community here.

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