NB1 round 32 review

NB1 - round 32 review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NB1 Hungarian football preview - round 32

NB1 round 32 - Preview

Here is the situation going into the final two weeks of the season: At the top Honvéd and Videoton are level on points but Kispest hold the advantage due to having one more victory than Henning Berg’s side. As long as Honvéd can match or exceed Videoton in points over the final two games they will win the title. What adds a bit more drama to this is the two will play against each other on the final match day. Nice, huh? Who could have written a better script? The only thing that would make the finale inconsequential would be Videoton losing to Ferencváros and Honvéd defeating Debrecen.
At the other end of the table there’s an entire queue of teams lining up to exit the league … or are they trying to stay up? That’s been difficult to determine in recent weeks as five teams are still battling against the final relegation spot. MTK’s defeat last week put them a point under the line, but Mezőkövesd, Diósgyor, Debrecen, or Újpest could take their place in the drop zone depending on results on Saturday.
Read on for a full preview of this week’s games.

Újpest (7th) vs Haladás (6th)
at Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest

Frustration has set in at Újpest and the season can’t be over fast enough for manager Nebojša Vignjevic who has seen his team drop three on the spin. They still have a bit of business to do, though, as they are still not mathematically safe from the drop. As unspeakable as that may seem to some Lilák supporters, that’s the situation they find themselves in as they welcome Haladás on Saturday. If there was ever a time for them to get their first win at Szusza Ferenc since the remodeling it would be here. Scoring is the issue as they’ve been held goalless in consecutive games for the first time all season, and if it were not for a late Enis Bardhi penalty against MTK it would have been three in a row.
Vignjevic will be without histrionic winger Souleymane Diarra who was dismissed for a professional foul last week against Videoton and has likely played his last for Újpest. Six other players, including Bardhi, József Windecker, and János Lázok are all on four yellow cards as well and will need to play with that in mind if next week becomes a must-win situation for them.
Haladás have quietly hovered around mid-table all season and have an outside shot of reaching the top four. An inspiring come-from-behind draw against Vasas last week saw them end the season undefeated against the top-four side. The old custodian Gábor Király was at his best, denying Zsombor Berecz from the spot early in that one. Striker David Williams seems to have gone into hibernation early as he has cooled off since hammering home 5 goals in March and April. Bence Iszlai has scored twice in their last 3 games, accumulating 6 goals and 5 assists on the season - a marked improvement for the defensive midfielder who last scored 5 goals during the 2012/13 season.

Prediction: Újpest 1-1 Haladás
Nothing suggests that Újpest will get anything out of this one. Even playing at home doesn’t give them that “warm feeling” anymore. However, with the dreaded drop still a reality and the theatrical Diarra out of the lineup I think they’ll be able to drill down a result here. Haladás haven’t had much luck against Lilák all season and I think they’ll come up just short once again.

Current form:
Újpest - LLLWDW
Haladás - DLWLWD

Debrecen (8th) vs Honvéd (1st)
at Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

This is a crucial match and one that most eyes will be on as both teams are fighting for different reasons at opposite ends of the table. Honvéd control their destiny and win against Loki will give them a huge advantage over Videoton in the title race. Debrecen are three points clear of the relegation line but defeat here could plunge them back into uncertainty.
Leonel Pontes seems to have done just enough to keep Debrecen away from the unthinkable. They’ve been impressive at home lately, going unbeaten in five of their last six at Nagyerdei with four victories. They’re coming off an inspiring goalless draw at Groupama against Ferencváros and it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to see something similar against Honvéd.
Marco Rossi’s side have done what’s expected recently winning three on the trot against bottom clubs. They lost two away games in a row without scoring a goal until they hit Mezőkövesd for five a fortnight ago. With Davide Lanzafame finding his second wind, Honvéd have looked more potent in attack, but the Italian is on 4 yellow cards and a slip-up against Debrecen could see him suspended for next week’s showpiece.

Prediction: Debrecen 1-1 Honvéd
Debrecen still have something to play for and they won’t roll over here. Honvéd are undefeated against Loki since 2014 and haven’t conceded a goal in their last four meetings with them, but I think Honvéd’s curious conservative approach in away games against lesser sides will catch up with them.

Current form:
Debrecen - DWLWDL
Honvéd - WWWLWL

MTK Budapest (11th) vs Diósgyor (9th)
at Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, Budapest

This is going to be messy. MTK are below the line and Diósgyor, who seemed done and dusted earlier this spring, have have just one defeat in their last 7 heroically getting to a point of being able to actually fight against the drop in the final weeks.
Vaszilisz Teodoru’s side have been victims of their recent schedule playing Ferencváros and red-hot Honvéd in the last two weeks with no points to show for their efforts. It was the first time they dropped two in a row since the beginning of the season. MTK must avoid defeat here, but a win would be far better as they head to the dreaded Paski stadion for their final game of the season. Myke has scored in consecutive games for MTK which is an encouragement despite both being only consolation goals. He joins Sándor Torghelle and József Kanta to achieve that feat at the club this season.
Diósgyor were rocked by two early goals at home against Mezőkövesd last week but managed to fight back with two second half goals to earn a share of the points. Tamás Bódog’s men are just a point clear and with another battle on their hands against Debrecen on the horizon so this is a massive game for them. Impressively, hundreds of fans showed up to create a “game-like” atmosphere (including flares) at a training session this week as they looked ahead for any and all situations in this one.
Gábor Makrai is on fire for DVTK with a goal in each of their last three games. After scoring his first NB1 goal back in early April he’s looking like the prolific scorer he was when he scored 15 goals in 24 games for Puskás Akademia last season.

Prediction: MTK Budapest 1-1 Diósgyor
MTK suffered their first home defeat since early March two weeks ago and they are facing some tough times ahead if they don’t get maximum points here. They haven’t lost to DVTK in their last five clashes with them and I think they’ll do just enough to get a point here and stop the bleeding.
Diósgyor have just one defeat in their last nine. They’ve struggled to score away from home this season - just 13 goals in 16 matches, but they’ll be up for the task here if Makrai can continue his torrid offensive production.

Current form:
MTK Budapest - LLWDDD
Diósgyor - DDWWLW

Mezőkövesd (10th) vs Paks (5th)
at Városi Stadion, Mezőkövesd

Mezőkövesd’s new manager Mikulas Radvanyi decided to rest all eleven starters in their Magyar Kupa semifinal second leg tie at home against Vasas on Wednesday. Perhaps it was the right decision to rest his players and not risk relegation, but a 5-0 defeat can’t be good for anyone at the club ahead of an all-important relegation fight on Saturday. They have one win in their last 11 matches, and they have lost three in a row at home in all competitions conceding 13 goals in those three.
Paks awoke from a 3-match funk two weeks ago and have won their last two games, scoring 6 goals without conceding. It’s hard to tell which team will show up with Paks, but on current form they look unstoppable. László Bartha has reached double digits in league goals this season with tallies in each of his last two games. Surprisingly they have a chance of claiming third place if they win their last two and other results go in their favor.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 1-3 Paks
Paks look very good again and have won three of their last six away from home. Mezőkövesd are looking more and more like they’ve conceded to the drop. Their inability to keep the ball out of their own net (20 goals in their last 6 in all competitions) has been their downfall.

Current form:
Mezőkövesd - DLLLDW

Gyirmót (12th) vs Vasas (4th)
at Alcufer Stadion, Gyor

Gyirmót are have a half their minds on holiday as they have nothing to play for in their remaining fixtures. Without a victory in their last seven games, István Urbányi’s side have done about what was expected of them this season. They’ve scored just one goal in their last 3 games, but they did make things difficult for Honvéd and stole a point at DVTK recently so there is fight in them yet. Urbányi will get András Simon back this week after serving his suspension for yellow card accumulation last week and that should give them a bit more quality going forward.
Vasas are still in the hunt for third place and a win here on Saturday would put the pressure back on Ferencváros to match their result in the later match. Michael Oenning’s side looked dominant in their 5-0 Magyar Kupa semifinal second leg against Mezőkövesd with five different goal scorers, but it had to be expected playing against Mezo’s second team.

Prediction: Gyirmót 1-2 Vasas
Vasas haven’t defeated Gyirmót in two tries this season, but Vasas will want to win this one to keep up their hopes for a third place finish. It’s possible that Oenning might want to give some players a rest but they really didn’t break a sweat on Wednesday. It will be Gyirmót’s last NB1 home match this year but I don’t see them putting up much of a fight here.

Current form:
Gyirmót - LDLLDL
Vasas - DLLWWL

Videoton (2nd) vs Ferencváros (3rd)
at Pancho Aréna, Felcsút

By the time this match kicks off on Saturday evening a lot may have changed on the table. Videoton could be looking up at Honvéd and need a result to keep their title hopes alive, or they may have the opportunity to take the advantage into next week’s showdown against Kispest. Whatever they do this week they must do it cautiously as both Danko Lazovic and Asmir Suljic are on four yellow cards each heading into this one. Henning Berg’s side are in good form with 3 consecutive victories and no goals conceded in their last two. They have drawn home and away against Ferencváros so far this season and a similar result wouldn’t be disastrous, but would make next week a must-win game against Honvéd if Kispest manage to beat Debrecen. Loïc Nego has found the net in his last two games - his first goals of the season as Berg has pushed him into more advanced positions in recent weeks.
Fradi expectedly finished off Budafok’s impressive Magyar Kupa run with a 4-2 win on Wednesday (12-2 on aggregate) to reach the 32nd cup final in their history. Thomas Doll will be hoping to pick up that silverware to make amends for what will be considered a poor defense of their NB1 title. This will be Ferencváros’ first real test since they lost at home to Vasas back in mid April. Recent wins over Gyrimót, Mezőkövesd, and MTK have helped to restore some confidence, and their easy semifinal win over lowly Budafok has seen the goals start to flow again. However, they were without an answer against Debrecen’s defense last week and that could be trouble as Videoton are both stingy on defense and have far and away the best goal scoring record at home this season.

Prediction: Videoton 1-0 Ferencváros
Five of their last six meetings have seen very low scoring games. With the importance of this one I don’t see Henning Berg “going for it” in the sense that he will throw the kitchen sink at Fradi. I have the feeling this will be another boring chess match as neither team will want to make a mistake. Videoton have far more to lose than Ferencváros and they’ll be cautious.

Current Form:
Videoton - WWWDDW
Ferencváros - DWWWLL

NB1 Hungarian football preview - Round 31

NB1 - Round 31 preview

Welcome back Hungarian football enthusiasts! Read on for a quick preview of all of Saturday’s NB1 matches in round 31.

Honvéd (1st) vs MTK Budapest (11th)
at Bozsik József Stadion, Budapest

Marco Rossi’s men are winning the games they should be winning down the stretch and Bozsik József Stadion has certainly been their friend, winning their last 8 games there. Their five goal haul against struggling Mezőkövesd was a treat for the traveling support last week and it was their first game with more than 2 goals scored since December.
MTK were outclassed last week at Ferencváros as they were handed their first defeat in six games. They are currently in the last relegation spot so this game will mean just as much to them as it will be to Kispest’s title aspirations.

Prediction: Honvéd 2-0 MTK Budapest
Honvéd have been nothing short of sensational at home this season, conceding just 8 goals in 14 games at Bozsik. Davide Lanzafame seems to have returned to midseason form with 3 goals and 2 assists in his last two.

Current form:
Honvéd - WWLWLW

Diósgyor (9th) vs Mezőkövesd (10th)
at Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Diósgyor return “home” where they’ve been perfect since the appointment of Tamás Bódog. DVTK’s late season managerial switch has been a huge boost for the club as they were a team that seemed headed for the drop but have now only lost once in their last seven and have a real shot of safety. They have work to do still as they are level on points with MTK and this week’s opponents Mezőkövesd who have been unable to pull out of a horrible slide in form.
Mezőkövesd seemed to be the promoted team that had gotten things right as they were in form and climbing the table before the winter break thanks to the leadership of then-manager Attila Pintér. The appointment of Tomislav Sivic as his replacement was nothing more than disastrous and he was relieved of his duties last week before the team was thrashed by Honvéd. Mikulas Radvanyi has now been handed the task of bringing a team bereft of confidence over the finish line.

Prediction: Diósgyor 2-0 Mezőkövesd
These are two teams heading in different directions and the result seems pretty clear to me. Mezőkövesd players had a chance for a fresh start last week but they showed no fight or determination, especially in the second half of their comprehensive defeat. DVTK drew at home in their last meeting and lost away in the other against Mezőkövesd but these are two different teams at this point in the season.

Current form:
Diósgyor - DWWLWD
Mezőkövesd - LLLDWL

Ferencváros (3rd) vs Debrecen (8th)
at Groupama Aréna, Budapest

Recently, Ferencváros have looked like the team we all expected them to be this season - a dominant, goal scoring club with an attitude of superiority that most top class teams seem to exude. They are on their first three-match winning run since the beginning of the season (incredibly) and look to have finally found their sweet spot, albeit probably too late.
Leonel Pontes’ grave stone at Debrecen has been set aside for the time as his side’s revival continued last week with another stunning win over Újpest. A late own-goal from Jonathan Heris was cruel to Lilák but it dragged Loki two points out of the relegation mire.

Prediction: Ferencváros 3-1 Debrecen
As good as Debrecen have been at home they have lacked the same spirit away. They did defeat Vasas 3-2 on the road recently but that was their only victory on their travels since October. There’s no doubt that Fradi can slip into another rut as they’ve been prone to do this season, but it than can carry their recent form into this one they should have little trouble.

Current form:
Ferencváros - WWWLLD
Debrecen - WLWDLW

Paks (6th) vs Gyirmót (12th)
at Fehérvári úti Stadion, Paks

Paks woke up from their three-week slumber in time to eliminate Vasas from the title chase last week. Aurél Csertoi’s men responded to three consecutive defeats with an impressive 3-0 win at Vasas to put them one step closer to safety. Now six points clear of the drop zone, Paks can look up and perhaps aim for fourth place with Vasas sinking.
Gyirmót have been officially relegated for a couple of weeks but their side has lacked the talent to effectively stay in this league all season. They did well to draw at home to Diòsgyor last week but their lack of a true goal scorer or any consistent attack has been their downfall this season.

Prediction: Paks 2-0 Gyirmót
If Paks have truly found their scoring boot again this could be an even larger scoreline. These two teams have played to two goalless draws this season, but Paks’ offense has improved in the second half of the season. With only one defeat at home all season, Paks is sure to get a result here.

Current form:
Gyirmót - DLLDLL

Haladás (5th) vs Vasas (4th)
at Káposztás utcai Stadion, Sopron

Haladás have done well to reach fifth place and a strong finish to the season might get them even higher. The re-emergence of striker David Williams has been a boost to their confidence after Bálint Gaál’s departure, and when Williams is on his game they are a whole different team.
Vasas were eliminated by Paks last week at home. It was a disappointing end to what the club and their supporters hoped would have ended in fairy-tale fashion. But it wasn’t to be and now they’ll be fighting for third place with Ferencváros who are in a groove. Vasas’ attack has decided to shut down at the wrong time of the season and if they can’t get things sorted out quickly they could end up out of the top four. Martin Ádám returned to the lineup last week albeit for only 46 minutes, but he should be back in full this game which will be a big help.
The aforementioned Gaál hasn’t had the best of luck since his move from Haladás to Vasas and I only wonder what will be going through his mind if his former team finishes above them.

Prediction: Haladás 2-2 Vasas
Vasas’ away form has been better than that at home. With a healthy Ádám on attack they are a better team and are an experienced-enough side to get things going again. Haladás won’t lay down, however, and this should be a very entertaining match. I don’t see a lot separating the two.

Current form:
Haladás - LWLWDL
Vasas - LLWWLW

Újpest (7th) vs Videoton (2nd)
at Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest

With the long awaited statue of their stadium’s namesake revealed and in all its glory - the bronzed likeness of Ferenc Szusza will look on as his beloved Újpest look for their first victory in their remodeled home. Lilák have dropped off the pace quite dramatically, looking quite ordinary in their last two matches against MTK and Debrecen. With two defeats on the bounce Újpest have yet to secure themselves against relegation much less a top four spot.
Videoton are in the hunt to reclaim the NB1 title after falling off the pace last season. Their current run is encouraging as they head down the stretch neck and neck with Honvéd in what could turn into an epic final day clash against Kispest. Danko Lazovic’s return from suspension has been helpful but he hasn’t been in the goals in the last two games. Vidi were purring this season when they had Mark Scepovic and Lazovic scoring freely. They’ll need that kind of production again to keep up the pressure on Honvéd.

Prediction: Újpest 1-2 Videoton
Lilák aren’t playing poorly, they’re just not taking their chances. Home has yet to feel like home yet and I can’t see them winning against a team that has it all to play for.

Current Form:
Újpest - LLWDWD
Videoton - WWDDWL

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.

NB1 round 30 preview

NB1 - round 30 preview

Hold on to your hats people! The NB1 finish line comes into view this week and the races at both ends of the table are equally intriguing. Videoton and Honvéd are neck and neck at the final turn with Vasas and Ferencváros a length behind. At the bottom, Gyirmót limped off the track some time ago but no less than six teams are in danger of relegation with just four games to go. Read on for a full preview of all the matches.

Debrecen (11th) vs Újpest (6th)
at Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen

Debrecen are in uncharted waters at the moment. Leonel Pontes’ team has managed to stay out of the relegation zone all season but this week they head into their match with Újpest level on points with Diósgyor, but just under the line due to having less victories. They battled hard against Videoton but were second-best on the day in a 3-2 defeat at Pancho Aréna last week.
Loki have done much better at home recently as they’ve only lost once in their last six games at Nagyerdei Stadion. Both Norbert Könyves and Haris Handzic have scored in each of their last two matches, while Dávid Holman’s performances seem to be improving as well. Leading goal scorer, Holman, scored his first two goals of the spring season a fortnight ago and was as industrious against Vidi last week even though he didn't find the net.
Újpest’s frustrating up-and-down season continued with a 2-1 home defeat against MTK at Szuzsa Ferenc. Since the restoration of their home stadium, Lilák have collected just 3 points in five matches with no wins. Their last ‘home’ win was ironically against Debrecen when they played in Kecskemét in December. They won 2-0 on the day but now travel to Debrecen where they haven’t defeated Loki since 2013. Manager Nebojsa Vignjevic has been without a true striker for most of the season and has had to rely on his midfield (and sometimes his defenders) to pick up the scoring duties. Attacking midfielder Enis Bardhi leads the team with 11 goals, four more than the rest of Lilák’s centre forwards combined.
Last week’s late defeat against MTK has Újpest closer to the relegation line than to the top four for the first all season. A win here is paramount or they risk slipping into the relegation morass.

Prediction: Debrecen 2-2 Újpest
Újpest will be bolstered playing against a team that has conceded 13 goals in their last 7 games, and they have played better away from home this season, but Debrecen have been tough at home recently and their forwards are on target with 6 goals scored in their last two games. It will be tough to separate these two.

Current form:
Debrecen - LWDLWW
Újpest - LWDWDL

Gyirmót (12th) vs Diósgyor (10th)
at Alcufer Stadion, Gyirmót

After a string of encouraging results just after the winter break there might have been some hope that Gyirmót were turning things around, but recent results have now confirmed their drop into NB2 next season. They fought bravely against both Ferencváros and Honvéd in recent weeks but came up just short. They were held goalless at Honvéd last week but it was just their second time in their last nine matches they failed to score which is a huge improvement over their early season production (or lack thereof).
Diósgyor are truly a different team with Tamás Bódog at the helm. Four wins in their last six with just one defeat has breathed new life into a team that looked doomed to the drop in March. With their noses above water for the first time since late February, DVTK are looking up rather than behind. They’re playing with a confidence they haven’t seen all season and are coming off of impressive back-to-back victories. They are they only team to have broken through Paksi’s gates and steal all 3 points this season, and they followed that up with a solid win over title-chasers Vasas last week, scoring the winner with only ten men. Their skipper Zoltán Lipták will miss the rest of the season for his conduct after being shown a straight red card in their last game. The veteran centre back has been a big part of their solid defense in recent weeks as they've conceded just four goals in their last six games. Even so, Bódog has wisely set his attackers free instead of sitting behind the ball. Diósgyor have scored nine goals in their last 6 games which has been a huge improvement for a team that scored just 7 goals between early November and late March.

Prediction: Gyirmót 1-2 Diósgyor
Bódog won his first away match in three against Paks but it was a big one. They are coming into this game with a lot of confidence and still much to play for. Gyirmót are looking to the future and will fight bravely but should fall here. Look for DVTK’s Roland Ugrai to get back on the score sheet.

Current form:
Gyirmót - LLDLLW
Diósgyor - WWLWDW

Mezőkövesd (8th) vs Honvéd (1st)
at Városi Stadion, Mezőkövesd

Mezőkövesd’s recent form has to be concerning as they were the promoted team that looked most likely to stay up, but now they find themselves in a desperate situation. Consecutive 3-1 defeats against Újpest and Ferencváros have them just one point clear of the drop zone and Tomislav Sivic looks out of answers for his team. For a team that was a defensive juggernaut before the winter break, they have fallen to pieces allowing as many goals in their last 10 games (22) than they did in their first 19. Sivic has been unable to pick up where his predecessor Attila Pintér left off.
Honvéd have been a bit of a mystery, truth be told. They are leading the league and have been very efficient in their last stretch of games, but they haven’t blown anyone out of the water. In a few of their recent victories they’ve looked just as much like losing than winning at times. Davide Lanzafame’s dramatic, late winner last week game them a deserved 3 points but the game should have been sewn up before that. In their last five matches they have either won with a clean sheet or been held goalless in defeat. They are getting timely goals and played some very good defense at times but their results seem to teeter on a knife's edge.

Prediction: Mezőkövesd 0-2 Honvéd
Surprisingly this is a difficult one to pick. Honvéd are in good form at home, but they’ve lost their last two away games without scoring a goal and that’s something that will need addressing. I think Mezőkövesd are floundering at the moment and they won 3-1 in their last game against Honvéd.  Even so, that was when Pintér was leading the team and their mindset is nowhere near where it was back in September.  Mezo will turn over if Kispest can get an early goal. This is an important one for Honvéd and I'm backing Márton Eppel to have a good game here.

Current form:
Mezőkövesd - LLDWLL
Honvéd - WLWLWW

Vasas (3rd) vs Paks (7th)
at Szusza Ferenc Stadion, Budapest

After defeating Ferencváros and Honvéd in recent weeks to crawl back in to the title race, Vasas’ aspirations for their first title since 1977 were dealt a blow with a narrow defeat against Diósgyor last week. Michael Oenning’s side have proven their worth with victories against the major players at the top of the table, but defeats against Debrecen, Újpest and Haladás have kept their charge to the top in check. Defender Felix Burmeister has scored their last two goals which is worrisome. They are missing the dangerous presence of Martin Ádám who has been out with an injury sustained in their 3-2 defeat against Újpest. Oenning will need someone to lead the line Ádám’s return is unknown.
Paks are a team that were grabbing headlines at the start of the spring season. An 8-game run without defeat had turned a lot of heads, but they’ve hit the skids in recent weeks with three defeats on the trot. What’s even more concerning is their lack of goals. Paks have gone three matches without finding the target for the first time all season. Aurél Csertoi hasn’t changed much in his lineup, but it’s possible his tactics are now working against him as teams have been able to break down the keys to his success. That remains to be seen.

Prediction: Vasas 1-0 Paks
After conceding 3 goals at home against Újpest, Vasas have kept a clean sheet in their last two home games including their first leg win over Mezőkövesd in the Magyar Kupa semifinal. Paks will need to show more in attack or risk being overcome by the wave of improving teams below them.

Current form:
Vasas - LWWLWL

Videoton (2nd) vs Haladás (5th)
at Pancho Aréna, Felcsút

Henning Berg welcomed back Dank Lazovic with open arms last week. The Super-Serb had missed the last three games due to suspension, and even though he didn't score a goal he was the catalyst behind Videoton’s 3 goal effort against Debrecen. Vidi hadn’t scored more than a goal in five games, but a rested Lazovic did the trick as he was at the heart of their best moves. Videoton are level with Honvéd on points but sit in second due to their one less victory in the league.
Haladás took advantage of Paks’ poor form to win their second in three weeks to stay out of the vortex of relegation battlers and inch toward a top four spot. They responded from their worst defensive effort of the season against Debrecen to notch their third clean sheet in their last four games. Haladás are another team that are unpredictable as they haven’t followed any sort of formula all season. It’s fitting that they’re so close to the top four though. They have picked up points were they should and have poached an upset or two along the way. They won twice against Vasas and beat Fradi as well so far this season - not bad for a mid-table team. David Williams is their in-form attacker at the moment and he was unlucky not to score in his third consecutive game last week.

Prediction: Videoton 3-1 Haladás
No one scores more goals than Videoton at home, and if Haladás’ recent away form is anything to go by then they could be in for a long day. Haladás lost 3-0 earlier at Pancho Aréna and this could be a similar scoreline.

Current form:
Videoton - WDDWLD
Haladás - LDWLWW

MTK Budapest (9th) vs Ferencváros (4th)
at Groupama Aréna, Budapest

Ádám Hrepka’s late winner over Újpest last week gave MTK three more vital points to keep them from dropping into the danger zone. It’s a right mess at the bottom with Gyirmót already relegated and four other teams separated by just one point in the fight to escape relegation. MTK will be fighting tooth and nail to create more space between themselves and the line but they face a big test against the reining champions on Saturday.
Ferencváros have not lived up to very high expectations this season but they have won two on the trot and have one foot in the Magyar Kupa final. They seem to have played without pressure the last couple of weeks as they may have conceded the league and are concentrating on the cup. After going four games without a win, Fradi have defeated Gyirmót and Mezőkövesd in recent weeks. Veteran Zoltán Gera has picked up his production with four goals in his last two games and has been the inspiration for a team that has lacked identity and cohesiveness this season.

Prediction: MTK Budapest 1-1 Ferencváros
Ferencváros have been poor away from home this season. They have a -3 goal differential and have only scored 15 goals in 14 games away from Groupama Aréna this season. MTK have already defeated Fradi at home this season and drew 1-1 against them away. These are the kinds of games that have killed off Thomas Doll’s chances of a repeat and I think they’ll struggle here again.

Current Form:
MTK Budapest - WDDDWL
Ferencváros - WWLLDL

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.