NB1 - round 24 preview

Two clashes that include four of the top five teams will provide the color for another exciting Saturday of NB1 football. Round 24 serves up some tantalizing matchups as Videoton travel to Paks in search of breaking the Nuclear-team’s impenetrable form at home. Another ‘all-capital’ affair pits Honvéd against Ferencváros in a top four battle. Grab a cup of coffee and read along as we take a look ahead of each game this weekend.

Diósgyor (11th) vs Újpest (7th)

at Városi Stadion, Mezőkövesd

New Diósgyor manager Tamás Bódog’s has been put to work to save the club from relegation. In his first match in charge they played Ferencváros in the Magyar Kupa on Wednesday getting an important away goal in a 2-1 defeat. Bódog also managed to secure former Mezőkövesd defensive midfielder Patrick Mevoungou before the Fradi game and he should be ready for Saturday’s game as well. They’ve been abysmal away from home this season but have been surprisingly competitive at home, winning five and scoring 16 goals in 11 games - not bad for a team that’s sitting in the relegation zone.
Újpest are coming off a disappointing Magyar Kupa quarterfinal 2-1 first leg defeat against Vasas and manager Nebojsa Vignjevic is not pleased. After the game he questioned his team’s commitment coming back from the international break and that only “6 or 7 players could rise to the challenge” of the pressure of a cup quarterfinal. Sounding gracious as ever, the irritation was there behind the manager’s eyes and he’ll expect a response in the match on Saturday.
Midfielder Enis Bardhi continues to miss out due to injury, but the return of Kylian Hazard has been encouraging though he has yet to start.
It also looks as if forward János Lazok and left back Dávid Mohl will both require late fitness tests to play. Mohl has played every minute of every game for Lilák so far this season.

Prediction: Diósgyor 2-2 Újpest
DVTK’s recent home form and the arrival of a new manager will be enough to push them to get a result here. Újpest will be gunning for points and have been consistent in their travels. Look for an open game with a few goals.

Key facts:
– Újpest are the only team in the league to have picked up more points away (16) than at home (15) this season.
– Diósgyor have won 3 of their last four league home games and have 11 goals in their last 6 league home games as well.
– DVTK have won their last seven home matches against Újpest. Liláks last win away was in 2009.

Gyirmót (12th) vs MTK Budapest (9th)

at Alcufer Stadion

Bottom side Gyirmót have had a bit of a revival in recent weeks picking up points in three of their last four matches. They’ve also scored a goal in their last 3 games which is impressive considering they had only scored twice in their previous 9. Their hottest goal scorer is defender Mijusko Bojovic who has netted twice in his last five games making him the only player in the squad with more than one goal.
MTK have won two of their last 3 matches moving them 5 points clear of the relegation zone. A notable point is that Sándor Torghelle hasn’t scored in their last three games. He was suspended for two matches and then was mostly conspicuous in their win against Vasas in the last round. Despite their turnaround, manager Vaszilisz Teodoru will have to deal without strong central midfielder Dániel Gera who underwent shoulder surgery this past week and is likely out for the season as he recovers.

Prediction: Gyirmót 1-1 MTK Budapest
MTK have been absent away from home this season and the loss of Gera will hurt them as the season goes on. Gyirmót have scored only 5 goals at home all season, but the last time MTK kept a clean sheet away from home was goalless draw against Paks in September.

Key facts:
– Gyirmót are without a victory in their last 12 league matches
– MTK have won just once away from home all season
– Gyirmót have scored a league lowest 11 goals in 23 games; MTK are second worse with 18 scored.

Paks (5th) vs Videoton (1st)

at Fehérvári úti Stadion

This is match of the round for me. Paks are on fire and they have somehow found their scoring boots which is a scary combination. They’ve jumped from 8th to 5th in the table since the winter break. Aurél Csertoi’s side have won 3 on the trot and two of those have been away from home. László Bartha, Dávid Kulcsár, and János Szabó have all scored two goals in their last three games.
Videoton have seized the pole position in NB1 and have poured it on in recent weeks. With three clean sheets in a row and the brilliant creativity of their front line they are always the favorites. Defender Vinícius got his first cap for Hungary after starting in their 3-0 defeat against Portugal on Saturday.

Prediction: Paks 1-1 Videoton
Paks are still the only team that haven’t suffered defeat at home and they’re no longer hanging on for dear life when playing away. They defeated Mezo 5-0 recently at “fortress Paks” and they continue to use their home turf as an advantage. Vidi are cruising and even with a rougher pitch they should still get something out of this one.

Key facts:
– Paks have just one defeat in their last ten (6W, 3D)
– Paks have scored 10 goals in their past 3 games - over a third of their season’s total
— Since 2011 Videoton have won just one of their last 7 meetings at Paks

Haladás (6th) vs Mezőkövesd (8th)

at Soproni Városi Stadion, Sopron

Géza Mészöly’s Haladás are coming off an impressive 3-2 win over Vasas last week. It was their second win in three and it saw the return of forward David Williams in terms of scoring goals. Haladas had been desperate for an out-and-out goalscorer to replace the prolific Bálint Gaál during the winter break and William’s brace was encouraging for the club and had to be a confidence-booster for the Australian.
Mezőkövesd have struggled since the start of the spring season but they will be receiving some key players back in the squad this week. In fact, goalkeeper Tomas Tujvel and defender Béla Balogh returned in a 3-1 midweek cup win against Szolnok, and defensive midfielder Dániel Hegedus is close to a return as well. Mezo looked like a different team and Tujvel brings experience, confidence and good communication from the back.

Prediction: Haladás 0-2 Mezőkövesd
I think Mezo have turned the corner in terms of injuries and they should return to the form they had before the winter break. Hali rode the back of an inspired performance by David Williams in their last game but it will be interesting to see if it was just a ‘one-off’ or it was the start of a good run for him.

Key facts:
– Haladás have conceded in 10 of their last 11 games
– Mezőkövesd have scored just twice in their last 6 away games
– Haladás haven’t defeated Mezőkövesd in two attempts this season

Vasas (3rd) vs Debrecen (10th)

at Szusza Ferenc Stadion

Bálint Gaál's return to his former club in a Vasas shirt was less that ideal last week as he came on with 20 minutes remaining and didn’t really make an impact in Vasas’ second defeat in five days. Michael Oenning’s side are slipping from the top of the table but they were able to take a 2-1 advantage from Újpest in the Magyar Kupa despite a poorly-played match by both sides on Wednesday. Vasas are a team that looked to have been ‘solved’ by teams in the NB1 recently and Oenning and his staff are going to need to shake things up.
Debrecen continue to be led by Portuguese manager Leonel Pontes despite the rumors that had him sacked after their defeat against Paks before the international break. There is talent in his squad that need to find their scoring boots again such as Dávid Holman and János Ferenczi who have scored just one goal between them in Loki’s last 7 matches. Frank Feltscher is another transfer window addition that should be able to add some firepower up front.

Prediction: Vasas 2-0 Debrecen
Despite their recent struggles, Vasas have only lost twice at home all season. They’ve also scored at a generous clip at home and I think they’ll have a bit of a boost from their midweek win over Újpest in the cup. Loki are still under massive pressure to get a win and this is a huge ask for them at Szusza Ferenc Stadion.

Key facts:
– Vasas have won just twice in their last ten
– Debrecen have one victory in their last nine league matches
– Vasas are scoring an average of 2 goals per game at home in the league this season

Budapest Honvéd (2nd) vs Ferencváros (4th)

at Bozsik József Stadion

Marco Rossi’s side have lost two on trot away from home and they’ll welcome a return to Bozsik Stadion, However, Kispest suffered a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Fradi in their last meeting six weeks ago in the cup. This should be another entertaining match as champions Ferencváros are slowly climbing back up into contention for the title. The return of Endre Botka to Bozsik Stadion may become a non-story as the right back looks set to sit this one out as well. In fact, Ferencváros manager Thomas Doll has gone public in his criticism of Hungarian national team manager Bernd Storck who apparently had injured players Botka and László Kleinheisler train with the team despite not being able to play for their national side. Kleinheisler featured in their midweek cup first leg win over DVTK in the quarterfinals, however.

Prediction: Honvéd 0-1 Ferencváros
Fradi are humming right along despite all of Thomas Doll’s ranting and raving. After a slow start they seem to be peaking at the right time with a lot of talent in reserve. Rossi was unable to outsmart Doll in their last match and Honvéd need to be in form to get anything out of this. I don’t think it will happen for them. Ferencváros have scored a paltry 10 goals in 11 league away games this season, but they’ve also limited damage in conceding just 11 in their travels.

Key facts:
– Honvéd have won their last 5 home matches
– Ferencváros have defeated Honvéd in their last 5 meetings home or away
– Honvéd have conceded just 7 goals in nine league home matches this season.


NB1 - Round 23 review

Videoton increased their lead at the top while the rest of the chasers stumbled. Moutari Amadou struck in 13 seconds for Fradi and Leonel Pontes’ Loki took another hit. Read on for all the round 23 action.

Mezőkövesd 1-1 Gyrimót
My prediction: Mezőkövesd 1-1 Gyirmót

Gábor Molnár’s second half equalizer gave Mezőkövesd a deserved point against Gyirmót at Városi Stadion. Mezőkövesd were up for this one from the beginning and tested veteran Gyirmót keeper Zsolt Sebok with a couple of shots that he expertly kept out.
The visitors struck first on 22 minutes when an Oleksiy Antonov pass slotted through a crowd of players inside the six-yard box and and it was tapped home from close range by a surprised and delighted Mijusko Bojovic.
Gyirmót had momentum and continued to probe the Mezőkövesd defense. A lovely pass from the right side set up Antonov unmarked at the penalty spot, but the Ukrainian hashed his shot and it skied over the bar.
Early in the second half Mezo should have equalized off a corner as Molnár chipped the ball to the far post for Tarmo Kink who stabbed at the ball and it went across the goalmouth and just past the opposite post. Wasted chance.
It was one-way traffic for a while and Mezőkövesd should have been awarded a penalty as Bojovic clattered Lazar Veselinovic inside the area but Ádám Farkas waved it off.
Bebeto missed a sitter for Gyirmót on the hour as he drifted into the area and was fed a cutback cross from the byline but his shot lacked direction and it too went over the bar.
The visitors rued their missed chances when Mezo finally claimed their equalizer three minutes later. It was a lovely play as Dániel Farkas collected a pass on the right and chipped it with the outside of his boot for Molnár whose glancing header dipped over the Sebok’s reach and under the bar.
Sebok saved the points a few minutes later with an amazing display of goalkeeping. His double save on Stipe Bacelic-Grgic was a thing of beauty as he dove to make the initial save and the leapt cat-like to swat away the rebound.
The hosts had no shortage of chances to win this one as they continued to come forward but they were unable to find a winner in the end.

MTK Budapest 1-0 Vasas
My prediction: MTK Budapest 1-2 Vasas

In a game Vasas needed to win to keep pace with the title chasers they fell flat and were unable to find the net for just the second time four matches as they fell 1-0 to MTK. Vasas are struggling to find their early-season form and MTK were able to pounce as forward Sándor Torghelle returned to their lineup.
Martin Ádám could have put Vasas up early but his low drive from inside the area was pushed away by Danijel Petkovic at his right hand post. At the other end József Kanta found Myke with a perfectly-delivered free kick but his header came back off the crossbar.
Minutes later another Kanta free kick almost squeezed inside Gergely Nagy’s near post but he was able to get down in time to turn it aside.
The goal came just before the break as another dangerous Kanta free kick met Myke running through and it somehow bundled past Nagy to give the hosts the lead. It seemed as if Myke almost tripped over the ball accidentally but they don’t give extra points for style in this league.
Vasas’ back three was exploited down the flanks as Myke and Yuri Kolomoets had some freedom to use their pace. As Vasas continued to press for an equalizer they became more and more exposed at the back and were lucky not to have conceded a second or third.
Much improvement is needed in Michael Oenning’s side and they’ll have one more chance on Thursday night to right the ship against Haladás before the international break.

Debrecen 1-3 Paks
My prediction: Debrecen 1-1 Paks

Paks secured an important three points as they won their second home game in as many weeks and their third on the trot with a 3-1 win over relegation-threatened Debrecen.
Loki actually had the early chances with a long shot from Dániel Tozsér that flashed past the far post in the 2nd minute, while a header from Hyun-Jun Suk was directed right at Péter Molnár who gratefully smothered the ball on 13 minutes.
More from Debrecen as Ioan Filip had a go from distance on 27 minutes that didn’t miss by much with Molnár at full stretch. Suk was in the mood as he got on the end of another cross and was a whisker away from the top corner.
Richárd Vernes almost put Paks ahead with a late first half free kick, but Branislav Danilovic made an acrobatic dive to keep it out as they teams went into the break goalless.
It wasn’t until the hour mark that Paks made the breakthrough and it came from a nice little exchange between Vernes and Zsolt Haraszti with the latter finishing low from a tight angle through Danilovic’s legs.
7 minutes later Tozser brought the Nagyerdei Stadion to life with a wonderfully struck free kick from 20 yards that gave Molnár no chance. It was a lifeline for Loki but it didn’t last long.
Haraszti was at it again with a shot from the right wing that was initially saved by Danilovic, but the rebound was met by Dávid Kulcsár who muscled his way between two defenders and firmly headed home for the lead.
Danilovic did everything he could to keep the hosts in the game with important saves on Tamás Koltai and Lajos Bertus in the final minutes, but Paks sealed the win with the goal of the round when substitute László Bartha magically flicked a Bertus corner past Danilovic with the cheekiest of back heels to add insult to injury.
This was a damaging result for Debrecen and Leonel Pontes. Will this be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for the Portuguese boss? I think we all know the answer to that question.

Videoton 2-0 Diósgyor
My prediction: Videoton 4-0 Diósgyor

Videoton cruised to an expected victory over Diósgyor continuing their drive to reclaim the title. This wasn’t the clinical Videoton we’ve seen in recent weeks and, in fact, it took them a while to shift through the gears before troubling the visitors. Loïc Nego got the first real opportunity before the half hour when he created a bit of space for himself inside the area and rifled a shot that deflected off a defender and just over the bar.
The hosts went up soon after when Vinícius celebrated his Hungarian citizenship with his second goal of the season. The big defender made a near-post run to head home a Danko Lazovic corner putting Videoton ahead 1-0.
Before you could say Székesfehérvár it was 2-0. Marko Scepovic played Nego down the right channel and his shot was deflected by DVTK defender Vitalijs Jagodisnkis and past former Hull City youth player Erik Bukrán who was making his debut in goal.
Headers from Asmir Suljic and Máté Pátkai on either side of the break came close to extending Vidi’s lead. The visitors had no answer for Videoton’s defense during the run of play, and any set pieces or long throw-ins were dealt with easily as the hosts cantered to the finish line.

Újpest 1-1 Honvéd
My prediction: Újpest 2-2 Honvéd

Újpest got a last gasp winner from substitute Viktor Angelov a minute into injury time to give the hosts a share of the points agains Honvéd. It was a deserved result in an even matched game that started slowly. But on 18 minutes the game’s first chance fell to Lilák’s Nemanja Andric who burst forward with a head of steam and tried to beat the advancing David Grof but his shot sailed over the bar squandering a great chance to give his side an early lead. Most of the play continued in the Kispest end and Grof was called upon to make two saves at close range as Újpest were getting in behind the Honvéd defense.
The visitors went ahead against the run of play before the half hour. A poor clearance from Dávid Mohl was intercepted by Donát Zsótér who rifled past the diving Szabolcs Balajcza from the edge of the area for his first goal of the season. It was a stunning goal from the Honvéd midfielder and it started a period of dominance for the visitors.
Honvéd almost doubled their lead when another defensive mistake allowed David Lanzafame to break away all alone on Balajcza but the Újpest keeper seemed to make an inch-perfect tackle as the Italian tried to round him and the chance was gone. However, replays showed that Balajcza clearly missed the ball but claims for a penalty fell on deaf ears - a rare mistake from the veteran referee Viktor Kassai.
Újpest were unlucky a few minutes later as a Jonathan Heris thunderbolt from the edge of the area looked destined for inside the far post, but János Lázok headed it over the bar as he tried to redirect it past Grof.
With chances created at both ends in a lively second half, neither side were able to find the game’s second goal until Honvéd were unable to clear a late corner and Angelov slammed home the leveler from close range.

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

Fradi didn’t take long to signal their intent in this one as they scored 13 seconds into the game and ran out easy 3-1 winners against visiting Haladás. Before most of the crowd had even settled in their seats Roland Varga swept a low, dangerous pass across the goal mouth to Moutari Amadou who threw himself at the ball and bundled it home inside the far post. It wasn’t even to 20 minutes when Varga was pushed from behind inside the penalty area and Gergely Zsots pointed to spot before booking the guilty party, Predrag Bosnjak. Zoltán Gera sent Gábor Király the other way and converted easily to make it 2-0.
Before halftime skipper Dániel Böde made it 3-0 as he picked up a loose ball at midfield and weaved his way past two defenders before firing an arrow into the top corner from 12 yards.
András Jancsó pulled one back for Haladás midway through the second half with a spectacular left footed shot from the top of the penalty arc that gave Dénes Dibusz no chance.
Fradi continued to dominate however, and they almost got a fourth when Böde fought off a nest of defenders at the edge of the area to tee up Gergo Lovrencsis whose shot flashed just wide of Király’s right hand post.
Király was spared a fourth against him even later when Lovrencsis pulled the ball back for Böde who collected the ball at the top of the area, beat a defender and slotted the ball through the keeper’s legs, but it was Kristóf Polgár to the rescue as he got a foot to the ball and deflected it away.
All in all it was a comprehensive win for Ferenváros at home and they are starting to look like a team that can win another title.


NB1 - round 23 preview

We are back for round 23 in NB1 as the teams look to finish strong before the international break.  Read on to get a full preview of all of Saturday’s games.

Mezőkövesd (5th) vs Gyirmót (12th)
at Városi Stadion

Mezőkövesd had their six-match home unbeaten run ended by Vasas last week adding to the misery of their 5-0 defeat against Paksi the week before. With no goals scored in either game this has to be a concern for manager Tomislav Sivic. Some key players are missing in his squad recently including goalkeeper Tomas Tujvel and defenders Béla Balogh, András Vági, and Dávid Hudák.
They have an opportunity to right the ship against Gyirmót but they need the likes of Veselinovic, Strestik, Gábor Molnár to find the back of the net again. Even the benched Ulysse Diallo was brought into the side last week but, alas, to no avail.
Gyirmót made a brave effort against Haladás but were unable to overcome an early deficit at Alcufer Stadion last week. Anto Radeljic’s 85th minute consolation, however, gave them a goal in their last two matches. The last time they scored in consecutive games was back in September against the same two teams (Vasas and Haladás). It was after that they started on a run of 8 defeats, losing at home to Mezőkövesd. István Urbányi has his team playing better though. The draw at Vasas a fortnight ago was a great result for them and it’s possible they can get a result here. 22 year-old forward Csanád Novák has been impressive for them recently, getting in the right positions and taking shots. He scored their goal against Vasas and played his first full game last week since September. Look for a close game in this one.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 1-1 Gyirmót

Key facts:
– Mezőkövesd have never defeated Gyirmót at home
– Gyirmót’s last win was on 24 September (11 matches without a victory)
– Neither team has a player who has scored more than four goals this season

MTK Budapest (10th) vs Vasas (3rd)
at Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion

MTK failed to win at home for a fourth consecutive time and have only won once in their last nine. It’s a difficult situation for Vaszilisz Teodoru who sees his side precariously close to the drop zone with Vasas coming to visit. MTK lost at Vasas back in October - a strange game that had all five goals scored in the first half in a 3-2 defeat with Vasas’ Zsombor Berecz sent off late in the game. A win at home would be sweet revenge for MTK but, even with Sándor Torghelle returning after his two-match ban, it’s going to be a tall order to topple Vasas.
Vasas stumbled out of the gate two weeks ago against Gyirmót but looked to be shifting through the gears quite nicely against Mezőkövesd last Saturday. Michael Oenning didn’t start new signing Bálint Gaál last week, instead bringing him on as a second half substitute with Martin Ádám starting in his place. The former Haladás hitman has yet to settle at the club and it will be interesting to see how he’s used in this one. Defensive midfielder Máté Vida’s has recovered from a knee injury but had an emergency appendectomy last Friday before the match against Mezokovesd and he won’t factor in this one either.
Torghelle will add physicality to MTK’s game and could very well spark an unlikely win as he’s apt to do, but Vasas are in form and will only get better as the season progresses.

Prediction: MTK Budapest 1-2 Vasas

Key facts:
– Vasas have won their last two meetings at MTK - both clean sheets
– Vasas have only conceded 2 goals in their last four matches
– MTK have conceded 2 goals in each of their last three games

Debrecen (9th) vs Paks (7th)
at Nagyerdei Stadion

This is the game of the season for Leonel Pontes at Debrecen. Fresh off a team-lifting 3-0 victory over Diósgyor, reportedly Loki need another win to save their manager’s job. The win over DVTK was expected, but the visit of Paks could be a concern based upon their current form. Hyun-Jun Suk was the mastermind behind Debrecen’s first goals in six games with 3 assists. New signing Frank Feltscher opened his account along with right back Attila Osváth. Goals will be much more difficult to come by against Paks who have conceded only one in their last four.
Paks have been an incredible story to start the Spring season picking up 7 out of 9 points and building off a strong end to their Fall season. In all, Paks are unbeaten in five and have moved from 11th to 6th place - 9 points clear of the danger zone and only 5 points from the top four.
János Szabó has scored in consecutive games. Amazingly he’s the only Paks player to accomplish that feat so far this season.
I think the confidence from last week’s win will push Debrecen to perform, but Paks’ momentum will stop them just short of a much-needed win

Prediction: Debrecen 1-1 Paks

Key facts:
– Paks have risen from 11th to 6th place in the last five rounds
– Paks seven goals in their last two equaled their total in their previous seven games
— Debrecen are unbeaten in their last six encounters with Paks

Videoton (1st) vs Diósgyor (11th)
at Pancho Aréna, Felcsút

DVTK’s week began on a low note as captain Akos Elek made a move to Kazakhstani club Kairat Almaty on Sunday. The decision to leave came hot on the heels of manager Ferenc Horváth’s exit last week and there’s a sense that the season is unraveling for Diósgyor. Regardless of his official statement it sure appears that he’s jumping ship as Diósgyor sinks further into relegation trouble. The club announced current Brøndby assistant manager Tamás Bódog as Horváth’s permanent replacement. The former Hungarian international defender (5 caps) and former Videoton assistant will take over managerial duties in Miskolc on Monday, leaving this game in the hands of Zoltan Vitelki once more.
To make matters worse for DVTK, they face a Videoton side brimming with confidence after a 3-0 victory over fellow title-chasers Honvéd. Danko Lazovic’s “Cantona-esque” chip to put Vidi ahead last week was sublime and his talent is only half the danger. Marko Scepovic continues to shred opposition defenses with his pace and intelligence off the ball. If that duo wasn’t enough to worry about, they’ve brought Asmir Suljic into the party as well.
Henning Berg will be without forward Krisztián Géresi who suffered an injury in a reserve team match this week. This would be a devastating blow for most other teams in the league but such is the depth of Berg's attacking arsenal.
On current form I can’t see this one going any other way than a comprehensive win for the league-leaders.

Prediction: Videoton 4-0 Diósgyor

Key facts:
– Diósgyor have won the last three head-to-head meetings
– Videoton have won five consecutive at home
– Mark Scepovic and Danko Lazovic have 5 goals and 5 assists between them in their last 3 games

Újpest (6th) vs Budapest Honvéd (2nd)
at Szusza Ferenc Stadion

Újpest fell to rivals Ferencváros in a match that lacked quality. Missing were the likes of Enis Bardhi and Souleymane Diarra for Lilák, while László Kleinheisler was out with the flu for Fradi. For Nebojsa Vignejvic’s side it was their second defeat in 3 games and they will have to pick themselves up to play another dangerous side in Budapest Honvéd. Kylian Hazard returned to the side, albeit briefly, as a late substitute which could make up a bit for an extended Bardhi absence. Diarra is available for selection this week but could start on the bench with József Windecker in good form.
Honvéd are licking their wounds as well after suffering their worst defeat of the season at the hands of Videoton in Felcsút last week. Now knocked out of the top spot, Marco Rossi will look to see what went wrong in a game he never really had a grasp on. His adjustments could prove vital this week as they look to avoid consecutive defeats for the first time this season and with Újpest back at Szusza Ferenc Stadion this could be a tricky fixture for them.

Prediction: Újpest 2-2 Budapest Honvéd

Key facts:
– The last 12 head-to-head meetings: Újpest 3W, Honvéd 3W, 6D
– Újpest were kept off the scoresheet for the first time in 15 matches last week
– Honvéd suffered their worst defeat of the season in 3-0 reverse against Videoton

Ferencváros (4th) vs Haladás (8th)
at Groupama Aréna

Haladás scored two first half goals and held out to defeat Gyirmót last week. The last time they scored more than one goal in the first half was against DVTK in a 3-1 victory back in August. Géza Mészoly has to be pleased with his squad’s efforts against Gyirmót but they have their work cut out for them this week.
Fradi are coming off an important Budapest derby win against Újpest and have now won two on the trot including their Magyar Kupa win over Honvéd last week. They haven’t conceded in four matches which points to the timely acquisition of full backs Janek Sternberg and Endre Botka during the winter transfer window. Thomas Doll has a deep and talented squad at his disposal and should be able to lead this team back into the title race. Anything else would be failure.

Prediction: Ferencváros 2-0 Haladás

Key facts:
– Haladás defeated Ferencváros in their last meeting 2-0 - their first victory in their last 10 head-to-head matches
– Haladás have scored just seven goals away from home in the league this season
– 3 of Fradi’s last four home meetings against Haladás have been victories by 2 goals


NB1 - Round 22 review

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.


NB1 - Round 22 preview

The NB1 continues with a full slate of matches on Saturday after a busy day of Magyar Kupa games on Wednesday. Vasas, Újpest, Mezőkövesd, Ferencváros, and Diósgyor are all into the quarterfinals of the competition and it will be interesting to see if their progression affects their performances this week. This week have injury reports, another managerial change, and build up to one of the biggest derbies in European football.

Debrecen (10th) vs Diósgyor (11th)

at Nagyerdei Stadion

The news of the week came Thursday as DVTK boss Ferenc Horváth was sacked after just 8 months on the job. It should come as little surprise as Diósgyor have steadily declined over the past three years finishing 7th and 9th respectively over the last two seasons. Now, sitting in 11th and staring down the barrel of relegation, they made the move that will hopefully spark their team to survive the drop and move forward. Zoltan Vitelki will once again take over as interim at Diósgyor with the unveiling of the new manager to be announced in the next few days.
The situation is just as dire for their opponents this week as Debrecen manager Leonel Pontes’ days seem to be numbered. The Portuguese manager has taken a team that has finished in the top four the last three seasons and has them flirting with disaster and there have been reports that he needs all six points in his next two matches to save his job.
This type of tension should provide an interesting atmosphere on the pitch during this relegation six-pointer. Debrecen have shown some improvement defensively after the winter break, drawing Fradi and then coming just short of another point at Honvéd last week. DVTK have shown no such organization and have shipped 6 goals in their last two.
Loki have shown grit in their last two games despite the low return in points. I think the players are still playing for Pontes and are likely to get their first goals after 5 games of futility.

Prediction: Debrecen 2-1 Diósgyor

Key facts:
– Debrecen have defeated Diósgyor in each of their last 5 meetings.
– Diósgyor haven’t defeated Debrecen away from home in over 11 years
– Debrecen haven’t scored a goal in the league in over 450 minutes of play
- Diósgyor have conceded an average of 2.6 goals per game on their travels this season

Gyirmót (12th) vs Haladás (8th)

at Alcufer Stadion

Are these two teams going in opposite directions? Gyirmót were written off after the autumn season sitting bottom of the table with only 13 points. But István Urbányi’s side have made a decent start to the second half drawing Paks away and then holding mighty Vasas to a 1-1 draw at home. With relegation an almost surety perhaps they’re playing with a bit of élan knowing there’s no where else to go but up. This could mean trouble for teams in the lower half that have a bit more to play for.
Haladás were roughed up by Újpest last week. Lilák were looking for redemption after being spanked by Videoton the week before, and Hali just happened to be in the way last week. With just one victory in their last eight and riding a run of four away defeats, this will be an important three points to pick up if they can. They lost to Gyirmót at home back in September 1-0 on a Dániel Sallói goal. Géza Mészöly needs more production from his front line. The only players who have scored in the past 9 rounds have both left the club over the break. David Williams returned to action last week and, although he put in a credible shift, looked a bit rusty in front of the goal.

Prediction: Gyirmót 1-1 Haladás

Key facts:
– Gyirmót have the worst goals scored avg (0.42) per game in the competition
— Haladás have lost their last five in all competitions
– Gyirmót’s last league victory was against Haladás back on 24 September
– Gyirmót have only scored 3 goals in their last ten league games.

Mezőkövesd (6th) vs Vasas (3rd)

at Városi Stadion

Tomislav Sivic’s honeymoon period came to a crashing halt as his Mezőkövesd side were humiliated 5-0 at Paks last week. Perhaps the absence of his new-signing Béla Balogh made the difference. Sivic inserted Alexandra Damcevski in his place on the back line and Mezo’s defense seemed unrecognizable from the week before. They have been very strong at home, however, winning their last five matches at Városi Stadion.
Vasas came back from the winter break with a whimper instead of a roar. Their gift from the league was to start the Spring season with match against Gyirmót but they could only manage a 1-1 draw. New-signing Balint Gaál got his feet wet in his first action with the club and should be sharper for this one. With the likes of Mahir Saglik and Mohamed Remeli up front, Gaál should have a bit more service that he had when he was with Haladás.
Vasas have struggled in their travels recently (not including their recent cup win over NBII side Dorogi) and Mezőkövesd are smarting from their disastrous defeat at Paks. This will be a tough one for Vasas and, even though they won the reverse fixture 4-0 at home, I’m afraid they’ll be faced with their second defeat in as many weeks at Városi.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 3-2 Vasas

Key facts:
– Mezőkövesd have won their last 5 home matches
– Vasas have won their last 3 meetings against Mezőkövesd
- Mezőkövesd have only conceded 2 goals in their last five home matches
- Vasas haven’t won in their last 3 away matches

MTK Budapest (9th) vs Paks (7th)

at Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion

Last week MTK showed they can score goals with 3 of them against Diósgyor - their highest offensive output of the season. They also showed they can win away from home (another first this season), and they did it without their talisman Sándor Torghelle who has usually been at the heart of the best performances. New-signing Yuri Kolomoets looked good in his first start and opened his account as well. Vaszilisz Teodoru will be looking to his Ukrainian import to keep the momentum going up front.
Paks are on cloud nine after a comprehensive dismantling of Mezőkövesd last week. There’s no doubt that home is more an advantage than a comfort for Paks but that went to a whole new level in their best performance of the season. The problem with that is they may have emptied their clip too soon. They’re not a “five-goal” kind of team and I can’t see that happening again - especially away from home. The Nuclearteam will likely be buoyed by their recent four-match unbeaten run but I think that will end in the capital this week. These two ended goalless in September and I think MTK will have the advantage at home.

Prediction: MTK Budapest 2-0 Paks

Key facts:
– MTK have won their last five home matches against Paks.
– MTK haven’t won a home match since defeating Gyirmót in October
– Paks have not scored in their last two away trips

Videoton (2nd) vs Budapest Honvéd (1st)

at Pancho Aréna

This is the first of two massive games on the day. Videoton are coming off a goalless draw at Ferencváros and are still looking good to make a serious title challenge. Honvéd also played Fradi but tumbled out of the cup in a 2-0 defeat on Wednesday. It was a tough loss for Honvéd who hadn’t failed to win at home since a 1-1 draw against Újpest back in mid-October.
Honvéd boss Marco Rossi also started his first team side he'll be hoping his boys can recover in time to take on Videoton who will be waiting to take over top spot in the league.
Videoton are a dangerous attacking team and they’ve already defeated Kispest at Boszik Stadion earlier this season. They’ll return home where they’ve won their last four.
It will be interesting to see how Honvéd recover from the disappointment of falling to Ferencváros in such a physically and emotionally draining match this week. I think Videoton are in a good position to take advantage.

Prediction: Videoton 3-1 Budapest Honvéd

Key facts:
– Videoton are undefeated in their last 7 home games (6W, 1D)
– Honvéd have not been kept off the score sheet for 14 consecutive league matches.
– Vidi’s Danko Lazovic and Marko Scepovic have combined for 3 goals and 4 assists in their last three games.

Újpest (5th) vs Ferencváros (4th)

at Szusza Ferenc Stadion

Top cap off another great week of fixtures we have the Budapest derby between Újpest and Ferencváros. This is a match that’s already volatile, but with the two teams so close to each other on the table it will bring it to another level of tension among players and supporters alike.
Both clubs had cup matches this week and both were victorious. Fradi’s match might have taken a bit more out of them as they visited Honvéd and battled to a 2-0 victory (4-1 on aggregate). Újpest had already taken a commanding 4-1 lead against Zalaegerszegi but didn’t take it easy on the NBII side finishing them off with another 2-0 win on Wednesday.
Újpest took a blow this week as they reported their star man Enis Bardhi will be out with a back injury. However, there were promising signs as they kept up their momentum from a 2-0 win over Haladás at the weekend. Also, after spending the season like nomads, Újpest return “home” to Szusza Ferenc Stadium to contest this all-important derby. Lilák know what’s riding on this and they have had success against Fradi recently - drawing the last two contests at Groupama. This should be a cracking match and both teams will be up for it.  The match was handed to 35-year old referee Ádám Farkas who has only officiated 6 games this season, but he's not one to keep his cards in his pocket as he's averaged 5 yellows per game. The big question will be, "can he keep control of the game?"
Against Honvéd, Fradi looked like the team we thought they’d be after assembling all their new talent during the winter break. If they can keep their composure and remain focused they might be able to edge this one.

Prediction: Újpest 2-2 Ferencváros

Key facts:
– Ferencváros have won 98 of 218 games against Újpest in NB1
– Mihailo Perovic has scored in each of his last two starts for Lilák
– Újpest have lost just once in their last 12 league matches
- Fradi have scored on goal in their last four league matches


NB1 - Round 21 review

Hungarian football is funny. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, something comes along and shakes everything up.” - Doe Zantamata (paraphrased).

Actually, Doe wasn’t speaking about NB1 but she could have been after a chaotic round 21 in the league. It was a veritable maelstrom of results that defied the odds and, in some cases, defied logic. Find out who was smiling, who was howling, and which team did the one thing they haven’t done all season long.

Budapest Honvéd 1-0 Debrecen

My prediction: Budapest 2-0 Debrecen

Let’s start with the one game I got somewhat right. Honvéd left it late but eventually solved Debrecen with a late goal to extend their unbeaten run to 8 games. Márton Eppel was the late-game hero for a second consecutive week, beating red-hot Debrecen goalkeeper Branislav Danilovic five minutes from time.
Eppel almost helped Kispest in front in the first minute with a slick layoff to Zsolt Laczkó running behind on the left but the chance went begging. There were calls for a penalty when Patrick Ikenne-King’s cross struck the arm of Debrecen defender Norbert Mészáros in the area on 10 minutes but appeals fell on deaf ears.
More promising stuff came on 19 minutes when Laczkó lifted a magnificent far-post cross to Davide Lanzafame who volleyed on target forcing Danilovic into action for the first time. The resulting corner was misjudged by Danilovic, glanced off of Laczkó and skipped across the goal with no Honvéd player at the back post to knock it in - a wasted opportunity.
Honved keeper David Gróf kept the game level a few minutes later when he punched away a dangerous inswinging corner. At the other end it was Eppel volleying a Lanzafame cross on frame but his shot was deflected away by Attila Osváth.
It was one-way traffic for long stretches with good build-up play but Rossi’s men just couldn’t break through. Eppel put Ikenne-King behind the defense and into the area on 66 minutes but his low, hard shot skimmed the outside of Danilovic’s right-hand post. Next, it was Eppel who found himself with plenty of space inside the six yard box but could only volley right at Danilovic who beat the ball away - almost more in self-defense, but it was a quality save nonetheless.
Then, just when it seemed the well had run dry, another deliciously long cross from Kadima Kabangu was chested down by Eppel who found himself in almost the exact same position as his previous chance, but this time he hammered home from close range to the delight of the crowd. It was a richly deserved goal and put Kispest atop the table by themselves for the first time this season.

Diósgyor 2-3 MTK Budapest

My prediction: Diósgyor 1-0 MTK Budapest

After ten away games without a win, MTK finally broke their duck and grabbed their first road victory of the season; a 3-2 win over Diósgyor who dropped their second game in eight days at Városi Stadium and dipped into the relegation zone.
MTK went ahead only six minutes in when Dániel Gera drove inside the area, battled past one defender and lashed home inside the near post from 13 yards with DVTK keeper Botond Antal rooted to the spot. New-signing Yuri Kolomoets tried to mirror Gera’s feat as he drove inside the box 7 minutes later but his low drive skimmed harmlessly past Antal’s far post.
The hosts were level against the run of play less than a minute later when István Fülöp’s looping free kick descended into the area. A host of players rose to contend for the ball but it was MTK forward, Myke, who headed it into his own net.
Myke tried to make amends seconds after the restart as he raced clear down the left flank, but his swerving shot was expertly turned aside by the diving Antal. There were more heroics from Antal as he made an amazing double save - first on a low drive from Dániel Vadnai, and then on the follow up from from Ákos Baki whose shot he held.
Zoltán Lipták headed just wide off a corner for Diósgyor just before another Fülöp free kick required a diving save from MTK keeper Danijel Petkovic. The hosts did go ahead before the break, however, as a determined Diego Vela shrugged off a defender and darted into the area before sending over a teasing ball across the goal. Fülöp was first to the ball and he steered his header beyond Petkovic’s efforts to put Diósgyor on top.
In the second half, MTK came out with a purpose and a free kick from captain József Kanta flashed just wide of Antal’s far post. Minutes later it was Kanta again as he chipped a lovely ball into the area for Kolomoets who volleyed neatly inside the far upper corner to level the score. It was a sensational goal to open the Ukrainian’s account.
As great as the equalizer was, József Kanta wasn’t content with a point and his 73rd minute free kick fooled Antal and dipped under the bar for the winner. It polished off a man-of-the-match performance for the MTK skipper who has played every minute of every league match for MTK so far.

Paks 5-0 Mezőkövesd

My prediction: Paks 1-1 Mezőkövesd

What can I say about this one? Wow! Paks have been a force at home this season but to put up five goals at home where they hadn't scored more than two all season was quite impressive. Five different goal scorers handed Mezőkövesd their worst defeat since a 4-0 hammering by Vasas in late September.
Paks’ highest scoring output this season was against Mezőkövesd earlier this season in a 3-1 victory on the road, so it would stand to reason that they’d improve upon that at home, right?
Things might have turned out differently if Stipe Bacelic-Grgic would have converted a gilt-edged opportunity in the opening minutes. He was played onside behind the Paks defense but his shot was deflected away by the alert Péter Molnár who came quickly off his line to make the save.
I’ve questioned the use of Mezőkövesd keeper Dávid Dombó in the past and an early save off a Lajos Bertus free kick made him look like the right choice in this one, but the party hadn’t started for the hosts just yet.
The first goal came off of János Szabó’s head from a Bertus corner in the 19th minute. Dombó didn’t come for the ball and Szabó powered it home from right on the goal line. Seven minutes later it was 2-0 when a free kick came back off of Dombó’s far post to Zsolt Gévay who volleyed home from short range. The visitors looked at sea without any direction or concentration.
More poor defending had the hosts up by 3 just after the half hour. A lazy ball down the right from Richárd Vernes was collected by Dávid Kulcsár who struck a ferocious drive that was deflected by Dombó but the power of the shot carried it into the back of the net.
It was 4-0 before the break as another beautiful corner from Bertus found Kristóf Papp rising highest at the far post and his uncontested header beat Dombó once again.
To be fair, Dombó made a superb save to deny Paks' leading scorer János Hahn his sixth of the season in the second half. But the day belonged to the hosts who polished off their dominant performance with a fifth goal four minutes from time. László Bartha chested down a cross from none other than Lajos Bertus, strolled uncontested through the box before coolly slotting inside the near post. Paks remain the only undefeated team at home this season and there was nothing from this performance that would suggest that ending anytime soon.

Haladás 0-2 Újpest

My prediction: Haladás 1-1 Újpest

Újpest rebounded from last week’s humiliating 5-1 defeat at the hands of Videoton to put Haladás away with a clinical 2-0 result in Sopron. Mihailo Perovic scored his second goal in as many games for Lilák, and young right back Kristóf Szűcs opened his account with an injury time goal to seal the victory. For Hali it was their third consecutive match without a win and the first time they’d been held without scoring since October.
Playing without Enis Bardhi (injured) and Souleymane Diarra (suspended), Újpest started in similar fashion to last week’s game with Perovic grabbing an early goal. The Montenegrin striker ran onto a Balázs Balogh pass, cut inside a defender and back out before snapping a right-footed shot into the roof of the net on 13 minutes.
Újpest manager Nebojša Vignjevic showed his faith in his defense as he started the game with the same back line that were hammered against Videoton.
The host’s best chance to equalize came just after the half hour when an Ezequiel Calvente free kick was met by Bence Iszlai at the back post, but his header was just wide. Újpest weren’t far behind with their next chance as some slick passing through the middle of the park set Nemanja Andric free down the left side. The Serbian winger tricked his way past a defender and shot from close range, but Gábor Király was positioned well in his goal and it glanced off his shoulder and over the bar.
Vignjevic’s team looked dominant for stretches, but there were echoes of their previous defensive liabilities like playing too high or making poor passing decisions across the back four. Haladás did have chances to get back into this one but just couldn’t finish. The biggest culprit for Hali on the day was David Williams who recently returned from injury. The Australian forward wears the mantle of replacing the recently-departed Balint Gaál but missed a few chances that could have gotten the hosts back in the game - the most obvious was hashing a cut back pass that set him up inside the area. He swung and missed the pass ending up unceremoniously on his backside.
The gloss for the visitors came in injury time when Andric played the ball into the left corner, evaded two defenders before crossing into the box. The ball fell for substitute Szűcs who drove a right-footed bullet beyond the despairing dive of Király and inside the far post.

Vasas 1-1 Gyirmót

My prediction: Vasas 3-0 Gyirmót

In another surprising result, Vasas were held by bottom side Gyirmót who displayed another confident performance this week to escape with an unlikely point.
This was Vasas’ first game after the break as they missed last week’s match due to a poor pitch. It seemed that they shook off the rust as they kept possession and attacked the left flank again and again in the early stages, but their finishes were either tame or off target.
Gyirmót broke the deadlock against the run of play. A long ball over the top by Ádám Simon was run down by Patrik Vass who pulled the ball back into the centre of the penalty area. Csanád Novak ran through, unmarked, and coolly side-footed his first of the season past Gergely Nagy for the lead. It was Gyirmót’s first away goal since late September and just their third in their last 10 matches overall.
Vasas went back to their possession domination after going down but it did them little good. Zsombor Berecz fired another long range drive straight into the arms of Zsolt Sebok, and Balint Gaál got his first sight of goal for his new club but drove his left-footed effort just wide of the far post before the break. Berecz continued getting into good shooting positions but was wasteful with his chances.
Mahir Saglik was lucky to have a cross evade the crowd and reach him inside the area but his header didn’t connect well and the ball flew well over from about 10 yards.
When Vasas finally broke through on 80 minutes it was well-deserved but they should have had even more. Mohamed Remeli collected a pass from Szilveszter Hangya and spun off his defender before blasting a shot on goal. Sebok made the initial save, Zsolt Korcsmár tried to bury the rebound but his shot was blocked. The Gyirmót defense couldn’t clear the ball and it fell for Botond Király who stroked it home for his first of the season.
It was ‘game-on’ for Vasas who looked like they would find a way to win this one, but all of their efforts fell just short as the visitors held on.

Ferencváros 0-0 Videoton

My prediction: Ferencváros 3-2 Videoton

Videoton earned an important point with some solid defending and a lucky bounce to extend their unbeaten run to five games. With so much riding on this result and with two teams that carry so much attacking firepower, this should have been one for the ages. Instead, it seemed to lack flow and creativity and essentially succumbed to a more brutish route than we might have expected from these teams.
The best chances came early in the first half when a curling free kick from Fradi’s Tamás Hajnal skimmed off the back of Videoton captain Roland Juhász and hit Oliver Hüsing who deflected the ball against the far post. Close call for Vidi.
Less than ten minutes later a Hajnal corner was headed by Hüsing to Leandro who controlled the ball with his back to the goal, turned, and fired right at Ádám Kovácsik who gathered the ball easily.
The best save of the day came less than a minute after the break. Ferencváros’ Dénes Dibusz flashed his right hand out to turn a tight-angled Stopira shot that was heading for the roof of the net. A marvelous effort and easily my pick for save of the week.
Fradi were clearly frustrated and it spilled out in a tense moment between Marco Djuricin and László Kleinheisler who was shoved by his teammate after a brief exchange of words.
Chances were few and far between as the game wore one. Fradi’s Gergő Lovrencsics had a left-footed effort that fizzed past the post late on, but that was the only tense second-half moment in a game that promised much and ultimately didn’t deliver.
It wasn’t a bad result for the champions, but it was a much better result for Videoton who escaped the capital with a point. With Honvéd winning on the day, Thomas Doll’s side are now 8 points off the pace. I’m guessing this wasn’t the start he envisioned for his team heading into March.

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