NB1 – round 30 review

Pacesetters Honvéd and Videoton were both victorious on Saturday meaning Vasas’ defeat has eliminated them from title contention. Ferencváros have the slimmest of hopes after their win over MTK. If Honvéd and Videoton can both lose their next two games and then draw in their final match, and Fradi can win their remaining three games and score 8 more goals than Videoton in the process then they would successfully retain the title.
Back to reality …
Read on for a complete review of last Saturday’s games and the drama therein.

Debrecen 1-0 Újpest
My prediction: Debrecen 2-2 Újpest

Heris own goal gives Debrecen victory over Lilák
Újpest defender Jonathan Heris’ disastrous own goal proved to be the difference in a game Lilák were marginally the better team at Nagyerdei Stadion.
The game could have gone a completely different direction if Újpest’s Enis Bardhi could have put away a poor Csaba Szatmári back pass in the opening minutes, but goalkeeper Branislav Danilovic closed the distance and forced Bardhi into a desperate lunge that went wide.
Újpest came close again when Nemanja Andric zipped down the left side and tried to force a low cross through that was deflected just over his target Benjamin Balázs and beyond the far post. Shortly after, Souleymane Diarra struck a venomous ball from distance that was on target but Danilovic pulled off a dazzling save to keep the game goalless.
Lilák continued to dominate the proceedings and Danilovic had to be at his best again when Andric broke free again on the left side and fired a low shot that required a tip from the keeper’s fingertips to steer it past the far post.
Andric was stroking his beard in frustration as Danilovic denied him once again a few minutes later with another diving save to push the Serbian’s shot wide of his right-hand post.
On the resulting corner, Loki’s Frank Feltcher raced away on the counter and played the ball ahead for Holman who fired a shot right at Újpest keeper Dávid Banai who somehow beat the ball away before it took off his head.
The visitors were handed the advantage as Souleymane Diarra made the most of a tackle from Ioan Filip who was dismissed for a second bookable offense. Diarra, who acted like a man who needed to be airlifted to the nearest hospital, popped up and continued as Filip headed for an early shower.
An industrious move down the right between Balázs Balogh and Benjamin Balázs put the former in a great shooting position but he only found side netting from a tight angle. Then, calamity struck for Nebosja Vignjevic’s men as a Heris headed an Attila Osváth cross high in the air and over the backpedaling Banai into the net.
Újpest huffed and puffed and Balázs actually had the ball in the back of the net with the equalizer but it was ruled out for what appeared to be offside on a corner kick on 83 minutes, but the ball was actually adjudged to have been played to Balázs off of József Windecker’s arm. Replays showed that it might have actually been his shoulder. The look on Vignjevic’s face at the end of the game told the story as his team lost consecutive matches for the first time since September.

Gyirmót 1-1 Diósgyor
My prediction: Gyirmót 1-2 Diósgyor

Radeljic’s injury time strike denies DVTK
Anto Radeljic put an end to Diósgyor’s meteoric rise in recent weeks with a late leveler to earn Gyirmót a share of the points and keep Tamás Bódog’s men in a three-way tie for the last relegation spot.
It couldn’t have been a better start for the visitors as Gábor Makrai slid onto a Soma Novothny cross and steered it past Oleksandr Nad just two minutes into the game.
Nine minutes later Ákos Szarka could have doubled Diósgyor’s lead when he weaved his way past two defenders but scuffed his shot that was turned away by Nad and cleared from traffic inside the box.
Gyirmót’s defense didn’t look organized and were constantly put under pressure by their own poor decisions. One such instance came in the 38th minute when Radeljic tried to switch fields with a pass across his own penalty area and it was picked up by Roland Ugrai who’s shot flashed wide of the far post. Another wasted chance by the visitors.
Ugrai latched onto another ball that he dribbled to the end line and chipped back into the area. Nad got to the ball with a weak punch an it fell to Makrai whose volley skied over the bar.
István Urbányi called upon 19 year-old Gergo Szalánski to make his debut for Gyirmót on 56 minutes an it was the teenager who had the host’s best chance after being on the pitch for less than five minutes. Szalánski raced hard to the center of the area to direct a cross on target with his right foot from close range but it was well-saved by Botond Antal.
With a point still within reach, the hosts poured forward in the final minutes and applied the pressure. The goal came in a moment of brilliance as a long ball into the area was headed back out to Radeljic who struck a mean volley that evaded the crowd of players and hit the back of the net inside the near post.

Mezőkövesd 1-5 Honvéd
My prediction: Mezőkövesd 0-2 Honvéd

Lanzafame leads second half surge to lift Honvéd
Davide Lanzafame picked up where he left off last week, scoring twice and setting up another to lead Kispest from a one goal deficit at half time to a resounding victory in Mezőkövesd.
It was the second time Honvéd put up five goals this season and their largest production in one half. Previously they had scored 4 in the second half against Gyirmót in December.
Mezőkövesd had quite a tumultuous week heading into this match as manager Tomislav Sivic was sacked last Tuesday and replaced by Mikulas Radvanyi. The team had lost 6 of their last nine and had conceded 22 goals in that span.
Despite all of that, Mezo looked unburdened in the first half and took a surprising lead just 17 minutes in. Gábor Molnár looked well offside when he received a pass down the right channel but play continued. Molnár cut back and curled a cross with the outside of his left foot to Tarmo Kink who was racing through the middle unmarked and Kink volleyed back across goal beating Dávid Gróf low and inside his left-hand post.
Honvéd took over after going down and were unlucky not to have drawn level by the break. Mezőkövesd goalkeeper Tomas Tujvel was not at his best and he hashed a couple of balls that could have been turned home rather easily if a Honvéd player was better placed. Both Lanzafame and Márton Eppel had late, first half chances that just as easily could have been goals than not but it wasn’t to be.
However, Lanzafame was involved in the start of Honvéd’s goal parade in the second half when his 50th minute free kick was well-met by Djordje Kamber who headed past the sprawling Tujvel lifting the large traveling support section out of their seats.
Lanzafame put the visitors ahead 16 minutes later when he skipped past one challenge and waltzed into the area. No one closed him down and he had the time to bullet his shot beyond Tujvel and in off the underside of the bar.
Dávid Bóbal scored his second of the season to make it 3-1 when he took advantage of more ball-watching defenders as he worked himself into a great shooting position from the left flank and curled a nice shot into the far, upper corner.
Honvéd were in high spirits and they continued to pour it on. Márton Eppel added to his league-leading goal tally when he ran onto a through ball from Lanzafame, evaded one defender before threading the needle past Tujvel inside the near post for his 13th of the season.
The cherry on top came deservedly from Lanzafame who beat Mezo’s offside trap by a mile at midfield and used Márk Koszta’s run through the middle to freeze Tujvel before firing home to complete the rout.
It was as comprehensive a victory as they could have hoped for and Marco Rossi’s men look like they’re peaking at the right time.

Vasas 0-3 Paks
My prediction: Vasas 1-0 Paks

Paks end Vasas title dream
Paks bounced back from a treble of poor results to defeat Vasas and end their championship hopes.
Despite carrying small hopes of staying in the title race, Vasas looked a shell of their earlier season form and showed in the opening moments as Zsombor Berecz made a horrible back pass under pressure gifting Paks’ Zsolt Haraszti a shot from the top of the area, but his effort fizzed just wide of Gergely Nagy’s left-hand post.
A great defensive header from Kire Ristevski denied Paks’ Dénes Szakály an easy tap in of Haraszti’s looping cross four minutes later, but the visitors did make the early breakthrough on the ensuing corner. Lajos Bertus’ offering was headed across the goal by Szakály to Bence Lenzser who met the ball with a firm header at the back post for the early lead.
You knew things weren’t going Vasas’ way when they tried to hit back right away and were denied twice by the woodwork and once by Paks’ keeper Péter Molnár in a span of two seconds. Márk Kleisz unleashed a daisy-cutter from 40 yards that beat Molnár and came crashing back off the post. Berecz pounced on the rebound and was turned aside before a lurking Mahir Saglik volleyed the loose ball off the crossbar and over.
Molnár was at his best again when he denied Tamás Vaskó’s snap header off a Mohamed Remeli free kick on 40 minutes.
Lázsló Bartha could have doubled Paks’ lead just before the break as he pulled down a cross inside the box but his dipping volley went just over.
Vasas truly looked at sea midway through the second half when Nagy came outside of his box to deal with a long ball through, but he read it wrong and it bounced away to Haraszti who chased it down and just missed the open goal from a tight angle with the Vasas defense scrambling to cover.
At the other end, Berecz broke free inside the area and looked to have a glorious chance to equalize for Vasas but Zsolt Gévay’s sliding challenge was just in time to block the shot.
With their hope fading, Vasas needed a catalyst and substitute Tamás Kulcsár fit the bill as he drew two defenders with a strong move into the area and cut back for Maglik who skied his shot over the bar with the goal at his mercy. Their profligacy was their downfall and frustration set in.
Paks came close again via an Ádám Hajdú header on 73 minutes that required a full stretch save from Nagy.
Paks finally dashed all hope of a Vasas turnaround when Bartha played Bertus in with a great angled pass that allowed Bertus to slot past Nagy for 2-0.
Substitute Janos Hahn polished off a solid performance for Paks when he tapped home a rebound at the near post in injury time. Tamás Báló hit a rasping drive from distance that was clawed out by Nagy but Hahn was in the right place to put it back for the final nail in Vasas’ coffin.

Videoton 2-0 Haladás
My prediction: Videoton 3-1 Haladás

Videoton stay on course with vital win over Haladás
Videoton made it two home wins in a row thanks to goals from Loïc Nego and Krisztián Géresi but it wasn’t an easy task for the hosts.
A swift Haladás counter attack almost put the visitors in front as David Williams was played in behind the defense on 4 minutes, but Videoton goalkeeper Ádám Kovácsic spared his team’s blushes with a reaction save as Williams tried to slot it through his legs.
Videoton would take their chance on 16 minutes as Loïc Nego scored his first of the year as he collected a blocked shot by Roland Szolnoki and swept it past Gábor Király just inside the far post.
Haladás asked questions of the Videoton defense throughout, but Vinícius marshaled a strong defensive effort and Kovácsic was solid when he needed to be.
The hosts were able to wear down Haladás and the killing blow came four minutes from time when Nego drove into the area and played a pass for Marko Scepovic but it was intercepted. Krisztián Géresi pounced on the loose ball and drove it across the goal and past the frozen Király for the insurance goal.
The win keeps Videoton on pace at the top with Honvéd who last won the league title in 1992-93. Videoton won their second title two years ago and will be gunning for their third in seven years. With just three games to go and the top two teams level on points, this promises to be one of the most exciting dashes to the finish line in recent NB1 history.

MTK Budapest 1-3 Ferencváros
My prediction: MTK Budapest 1-1 Ferencváros

Strong first half leads Fradi over MTK
Ferencváros benefitted from a three-goal first half to run out easy winners at Hideguti Nandor Stadion.
Only ten minutes had been played before Fradi had their noses in front. Janek Sternberg played a lovely ball into the area from the left wing, and Roland Varga was first to the ball with a powerful downward header that beat the flapping Danijel Petkovic. Varga did his own flapping in a celebration that looked like a 1940’s cartoon character while manager Thomas Doll pumped his fists in celebration on the sideline.
A few minutes later Petkovic was called into action again, this time he expertly turned aside a dangerous, close-range header from Dániel Böde as the reigning champions shifted quickly through the gears.
The goal of the game came just past the half hour when a long pass from István Bógnar was timed perfectly by Gergo Lovrencsics who strode into a blistering shot from outside the box that took a slight deflection off a defender and beat the wrong-footed keeper. It was the winger’s first goal of the season and it was a peach.
Zoltán Gera created the visitor’s third on the stroke of half time as he combined with Roland Varga to find some space on the right wing. From there he sent an excellent cross that found Amadou Moutari gliding through the box to bundle the ball past Petkovic from close range. Fradi were purring, Doll was smiling, and the away support were in raptures – it was a picture of what should have been for most of a season that has fallen short of expectations.
MTK did get a late consolation goal ten minutes from time as Myke played an incisive pass through the defense to József Kanta who turned it past Ádám Holczer to make it 3-1.
Mathematically, Fradi are hanging on by their fingernails, but realistically they will be turning to the Magyar Kupa for a more realistic chance of silverware and an invitation to the Europa League qualifiers this summer.

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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