The PUSKÁS-SUZUKI CUP

 

The PUSKÁS-SUZUKI CUP took place last week in Hungary and the Puskás academy sports director Imre Gellei, spoke exclusively to Gaby Kovács to tell us about this youth tournament.

Can you tell us how the PUSKÁS-SUZUKI CUP began and why it was created?

Five years ago, in 2008 we organized the first. One aim was to renew the old Easter tradition of tournaments and the other was to give young players a chance to show their talents in a  tournament, honouring the memory of Ferenc Puskás. The competition is almost a mini European championship and Real Madrid coach Jose Antonio Fernandez Lopez said that to them this is the most important tournament of the season for their age group. We try to create the right conditions for the players and it is also a great place for children to come and spend their Spring break.

The current crop of young players we have is encouraging for Hungarian football. How much can be done to convince these players to stay with Hungarian clubs?

We must make a football career in Hungary attractive by using positive examples, for example Roland Szolnoki and Ádám Gyurcsó, who now play for the Hungarian champions Videoton. This example should be used to inspire players that they should feel at home playing in Hungary.  As Paulo Sousa, the two times Champions League winner and coach of Videoton said, everyone should try to have an international career, and one or two players from his current crop can succeed in this.

Hungarian Under 17 International, Gergely Bobal won player of the tournament

Were the other teams involved in the competition surprised at how good youth football in Hungary was?

They were very impressed with the organisation of the tournament and the quality of the players and left previous tournaments with a very positive experience of Hungary. From the previous four competitions, Hungarian teams have won three with Real Madrid winning the other, so the Spanish, Greek and other foreign teams know  that winning here will be no easy job. The seriousness of the tournament is also perfectly indicated by the fact that the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban is honoured each year to open the tournament officially.

As UEFA made a terrible mistake which cost our under 17's a place in the European championship, is this tournament important to give the players a confidence boost again?

My personal opinion is that there are times when morality should overcome the rigid rules, and we should be included in the championships in Slovenia, because we are completely innocent in the matter. We should of at least had the chance to of played Belgium on a neutral ground to decide who goes through. In two years’ time we host the under 17 European championship in Hungary, so we will not be left behind in this age group at least. The PUSKAS-SUZUKI CUP is an important aid to their development.

Who are the current crop of academy players that we should look out for?

We have, in six age groups, 22 national team players,  who we believe have the talent to become a top professional player. We have seven academy players currently playing in the second division now, and there are two at current champions Videoton.

What is the future of the competition? Do you think it will expand to have teams from England, Germany etc?

At the tournament we have a very important principle that, as much as possible, the way of life of Ferenc Puskás must be passed on to the teams and players, therefore, permanent participants of the tournament will be Budapest Honvéd and Real Madrid, because these teams Puskás played for and also Panathinaikos, where he managed. We plan to look into the possibility of expanding the eight team tournament, and to bring in English, German, Dutch and Japanese teams.

Honvéd won this year’s tournament for the 3rd time in 5 years, beating Videoton 7-0 in the final.

Many thanks to Zalán Bodnár and György Szöllősi from the Ferenc Puskás academy.

The excellent academy website can be found here http://www.pfla.hu/?q=en and also take a look at the PUSKÁS-SUZUKI CUP website here http://www.puskassuzukicup.net/welcome/

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OTP Bank Liga Round up – Matchday 23

 

Written by Gaby Kovács

This weekend’s round of fixtures started on Friday evening where Gyõr faced Kaposvár in front of the television cameras. Only 9 minutes were on the ETO Park scoreboard when Pátkai headed home unmarked to put the hosts in front, and in the 25th minute former Hungarian under 21 international Roland Varga scored his first goal in only his second appearance in a Gyõr shirt with a firm header. Bebeto’s goal straight from the kick off of the second half gave relegation candidates Kaposvár a glimmer of hope but the game ended 2-1. five wins from the last five for Gyõr,  who are within 2 points of the leaders Debrecen now whilst Kaposvár are just 1 point above the drop zone.

6000 fans flocked to Oláh Gábor utca to see the leaders Debrecen take on the inform Siófok. With the teams level at half time, it wasn’t until the 57th minute that the first goal came, and what a goal it was as Mészáros timed his run perfectly to charge into the area and hit a left foot shoot beautifully into the net. All going to plan for the league leaders until the 80th minute when Debrecen defender Simac looped the ball over his own goalkeeper from the edge of the area to score a bizarre own goal and give the away side an unlikely point. That result leaves Debrecen top but with only one win in the last three. Siófok remain unbeaten in their last four games to pull further away from the relegation zone.

Kecskemét earned a midweek draw at Debrecen to put them into the league cup final where they face Videoton, but today they travelled to the Illovszky Rudolf Stadion in Budapest to face the much troubled Vasas. Just five minutes had passed when Alempijevics put the visitors ahead with a great shot from the edge of the area and only two minutes later Lencse had doubled the lead with a simple tap in before Pekár made it 3-0 two minutes before the break with a finish a few yards out to give Kecskemét a very comfortable lead. Vasas came out a different side and Kovács pulled one back just a minute into the second half, but despite pressurising they could not get another and on 73 minutes Tököli gave Kecskemét a 4-1 lead, rounding the keeper to slot home. Dajic scored for the home side with 6 minutes to go with a neat finish after rounding the keeper, but the game finished 4-2. Vasas remain in serious trouble in 15th place while Kecskemét move up to a very good 5th place.

Another great crowd at the DVTK Stadion as 7000 fans came out to see home side Diósgyőr take on Paks and to see how the clubs technical director, Lázár Szentes would do as a replacement for Miklós Benczés who left the club by mutual agreement last week. Defender Éger gave the visitors a 1-0 lead on the half hour with a header from inside the six yard box, which they held onto until half time. Just three minutes into the second half Hrepka doubled Paks lead scoring off the post and it wasn’t until the 79th minute that the home fans had something to cheer when substitute Seydi pulled it back to 1-2, poking the ball home from a few yards out. That loss moves Diósgyőr down to 6th place while Paks sit comfortably in 8th.

Vid's hopes of retaining the title were dealt a huge blow in Szombathely

5000 people were inside the Rohonci úti Stadion in Szombathelyi to see Haladás take on league cup finalists Videoton. The hosts went into this game unbeaten in their last four but it was Vidi who took the lead four minutes before half time as former Parma and Chelsea man Oliveira scored his second goal of the season, dancing through the defence before slotting home off the chasing defender. A minute before the hour mark, Hungarian international Sándor slotted home a penalty to give the away side a comfortable lead going into the last half hour. On 65 minutes Radó pulled one back with a header for Haladás before Halmosi completed a remarkable comeback with an unmarked header in the six yard box to seal a point. Videoton lose ground on Gyõr and it looks like they may have to settle for 3rd place this season. Haladás now sit 7 points from the final relegation place but this spirited display should give the team a boost to ease the worry of the drop.

The PMFC Stadion was the venue for Pécs against Újpest. This was former assistant manager Olivér Mink’s first game in charge of Pécs who bizarrely sacked their manager Mészáros despite sitting 6th in the first division table after only being promoted last season. It was the home side who had the better of the first half but failed to cause Újpest any serious trouble and the second half saw the Pécs goalkeeper in excellent form to ensure the game finished 0-0. The travelling fans from the capital unveiled a banner which read “Spisljak=nb2” to show exactly where they think they are heading under the current manager and with the team only 2 points from a relegation place, it is a real possibility. What Pécs are trying to achieve with a new manager remains to be seen but this point leaves them safely in 7th place as it stands.

Sundays first game saw Honvéd welcome strugglers Lombard Pápa to the Bozsik József Stadion in Budapest.  Honvéd were favourites  for a win here despite two defeats on the bounce and started well when Délczeg finished neatly from the edge of the area after a great through ball.  On 23 minutes the home side were awarded a penalty when winger Tchami was body checked in the box but Ivancsics saw his spot kick brilliantly pushed round the post by Szűcs in the Pápa goal. From the resulting corner, centre half Botis managed to bundle the ball into the back of the net to give the Budapest club a 2-0 half time lead. The closest the away side came to a goal was on 74 minutes when Tóth was ruled offside after a long range effort came back off the bar to his feet and four minutes later Tchami’s effort that hit the bar at the other end was just one of many more missed chances for the home side. Honvéd stay 4th with this win, now 6 points away from Videoton in 3rd while Lombard Pápa remain out of the relegation places by goal difference only.

The weekends last game saw the basement boys Zalaegerszeg face Ferencváros at the ZTE Aréna, with the home side still looking for

Fradi celebrate their superb comeback

their first win of the season. There was nothing of note in this game until the 42nd minute when the home side were awarded a penalty following a clumsy challenge, which Kocsárdi despatched beautifully to give ZTE a shock 1-0 half time lead. On 55 minutes ZTE were in heaven as Máté put them 2-0 up with a header that powered off the bar and goalkeeper, and they were possibly already thinking of the front page headline as Simic pulled one back just 4 minutes later, finishing well in the area after latching on to a lofted through ball. Then it was the turn of substitute Hakola to make his mark on the game on 71 minutes as he slotted a neat finish home from just inside the area to make it 2-2. A point would have been very little reward to ZTE but it was about to get much worse as Hakola again, smashed home a lovely curling effort from outside the area in stoppage time to break their hearts. Just 8 points still for ZTE at the very bottom of the table while that comeback lifts Ferencváros 2 places into 9th.

 

Next week’s league fixtures

Kaposvár vs Diósgyőr  (Friday)

Paks vs Debrecen

Siófok vs Pécs

Kecskemét vs Zalaegerszeg

Ferencváros vs Győr

Lombard Pápa vs Haladás

Videoton vs Vasas  (Sunday)

Újpest vs Honvéd  (Sunday)

 

Hungarian cup semi final second legs

Videoton (3) vs MTK Budapest (2)  (Tuesday)

Újpest (1) vs Debrecen (2)  (Wednesday)

 


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OTP Bank Liga Roundup – Matchday 22

 

Written by Gaby Kovacs

Friday night at the Révész Géza utcai Stadion saw home side Siófok take on Diósgyőr. It was a big game for both with DVTK looking to take 4th spot while Siófok looked to continue their good form and ease relegation worries. One goal settled this and it came from Attila Simon on 32 minutes, giving him his 5th goal in 8 games and delighting the 2000 strong crowd. Siófok sit in 11th place and that was their 3rd win on the bounce which gives them a 6 point gap from the relegation places.  Disappointing for Diósgyőr who remain 5th with the last Europa league place moving out of sight.

Saturday’s games started in Budapest as Ferencváros hosted Vasas at the Albert Flórián Stadion. 5500 fans saw Fradi dominated the game but fail to convert any of their chances, and they were left wondering how the referee failed to award them a penalty after Kulcsár was knocked off the ball by a reckless challenge.  With the first half coming to a close, another clumsy challenge in the box saw the home side awarded a penalty and Pölöskey stepped up to coolly put the ball down the middle of the goal. The second half belonged to Vasas and their best chance came when Dajic rounded the keeper but blazed over the bar, and a good save from Jova denied Szabó an equaliser with 20 minutes left. Ferencváros first win in 3 leaves them 9th in the table and Vasas 5thdefeat in 6 games sees them drop into the first of the relegation places on goal difference.

Poloksei grabbed the only game in the Budapest derby

Strong winds didn’t stop 3000 fans attending the Széktói Stadion to watch home side Kecskemét take on Haladás. It was the away side who started brightest and were awarded a penalty on 21 minutes, which Kenesei took, and missed. Just 5 minutes later Kecskemét were awarded a penalty and the in form Lencse made no mistake to make it 1-0. Kenesei made up for his penalty miss on 35 minutes to equalise and the teams went into the half time break even. Gábor Nagy got his first of the season for Haladás on 73 minutes to give them the lead, but it was short lived as just 2 minutes later Tököli equalised. 7th place for Kecskemét while Haladás continue to flirt with danger. Despite sitting in 10th place they are just 6 points above the relegation places.

The 1200 people who were at the Perutz stadion might have wished they were elsewhere as Lombard Pápa hosted high flying Pécs. In another game affected by the wind, Pápa were the team who did all the attacking here but the best chance of the game went to the away side as Scsepanovics on 86 minutes hit the bar.  A 0-0 draw here good enough to lift Lombard Pápa out of the relegation zone, albeit by goal difference, as they sit in 14th place. Pécs sit in 6th.

The Városi Sporttelep housed 1000 fans for this encounter between Paks and Kaposvár. Both teams had lost their previous two games so this drab 0-0 draw will have been just what the doctor ordered, unless you had to sit through it in the stands. Paks sit in 8th place but still not completely safe from relegation while Kaposvár are just 1 point above the drop zone in 13th place.

2000 people were inside the ZTE Aréna to see if Zalaegerszeg could record an unlikely first win in 22 matches as they hosted 2nd place Győr. Only 4 minutes were on the clock when Kamber opened the scoring for the visitors as he headed home from inside the six yard box following a corner. ZTE goalkeeper Jahic pulled out a string of fine saves throughout this game but could do nothing as Máté Pátkai beautifully controlled the ball in the area and showed quick feet before Trajkovics took the ball off his foot to slot home on 73 minutes. Győr never looked like losing this one and are right on the tails of leaders Debrecen now. Zalaegerszeg remain at the foot of the table on 8 points and it is surely only a matter of weeks before they are mathematically relegated.

Újpest took on leaders Debrecen at the Szusza Ferenc Stadium on Sunday, looking to ease their relegation worries against a side which started the game with Győr just 1 point behind despite being unbeaten all season. Just 9 minutes were on the clock when Szakály put the visitors 1 up and on 22 minutes it was 2 courtesy of Bódi. Coulibaly added the 3rd on 40 minutes to give Debrecen a very healthy halftime lead. It was more of the same in the second half as Coulibaly bagged his second and Debrecen’s 4th on the hour before Bódi got his second on 74 minutes. An 84th minute penalty converted by Kabát was little consolation for most of the 4500 fans and the game finished 5-1. Debrecen extended their lead to 4 points at the top while Újpest sit in 12thplace, just 1 point from the drop zone.

Torghelle celebrates his last gasp winner

The final game of the weekend paired 3rd and 4th place as Videoton met Budapest Honvéd at the Sóstói Stadion. This was a great chance for Vidi to make the Europa league spot their own against their closest rival, and it was a game where Videoton attacked while the away side were happy to defend and rarely create anything going forward. Honvéd looked like they would hold out for a point until stoppage time when former Hungarian international Torghelle looped a header past Kemenes into the net for the home team, against the side he left during the winter break. That last gasp winner cements Videoton’s 3rd place and puts them 8 points clear of Honvéd in 4th, who will have a huge struggle to keep that place their own.

Next week’s league fixtures

 

Gyõr vs Kaposvár  (Friday)

Debrecen vs Siófok

Vasas vs Kecskemét

Diósgyőr vs Paks

Pécs vs Újpest

Haladás vs Videoton

Honvéd vs Lombard Pápa  (Sunday)

Zalaegerszeg vs Ferencváros  (Sunday)

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OTP Bank Liga Roundup – Matchday 21

 

Written by Gaby Kovacs

The weekend’s games kicked off at the Bozsik József Stadion on Friday evening where coach István Szabó took his Kecskemét side to the capital to face high flying Honvéd. The home side had scraped 2 wins and a draw since the season restarted after the winter break, but with performances very much below par. Today they were found out. 2000 fans saw Lencse open the scoring for the visitors 3 minutes before half time, and the lead was doubled 3 minutes after the break, Lencse again with a great finish. Szavics made it 3 nil to Kecskemét on 63 minutes, showing quick feet and a good left foot finish, before Honvéd grabbed a consolation on 82 minutes through Faggyas. The day belonged to Lencse though, who completed his hat trick on 84 minutes, heading home unmarked to take his tally to 9 for the season. Despite the defeat, Honvéd remain 4th while Kecskemét sit 7th.

The KTE players swarm to Lencse after completing his hat-trick

5500 were in attendance at Oláh Gábor utca in Debrecen to see the league leaders take on strugglers Lombard Pápa, and they were soon on their feet as Kulcsár gave the home side the lead on 6 minutes. It remained that way until half time and 5 minutes into the 2nd half, in form Frenchman Coulibaly put Debrecen 2-0 up with a very neat finish. The champions elect were coasting, but Pápa obviously hadn’t read the script. First, Tóth pulled one back on 56 minutes before Benko did the unthinkable and equalised just  11 minutes later. The home side were given a lifeline though when referee  Dániel Becséri gave them a dubious penalty with 15 minutes to go. Bódi took the kick and saw it saved to leave the away side celebrating an unlikely point and the champions elect showing  they might just be human after all. Debrecen remain top, undefeated on 51 points, while Pápa slip into the relegation places, one point from safety.

The Rákóczi Stadion saw 2500 fans come to see this relegation battle game between Kaposvár and Siófok. Nyári gave the away side the lead on 17 minutes and just 3 minutes later Haraszti had doubled that before Simon put Siófok into dreamland on 37 minutes to give them a 3-0 half time lead. Bebeto (no, not that one!) started a spirited comeback for the hosts in the 57th minute to score just 3 minutes after coming on, and Haruna made the last 17 minutes nail biting for all concerned, pulling it back to 2-3. It wasn’t enough though and Siófok secured a huge 3 points.

Pécs, punching well above their weight, welcomed 3rd placed Videoton to the PMFC Stadion and 4000 fans were in attendance to see how they would fair against Paulo Sousa’s men. It was Nemanja Nikolics who put the away side ahead on 12 minutes with his 12th goal of the season and Gyurcsó made sure Vidi would go into the half time break with a 2-0 lead. Andorka sparked Pécs into life by pulling one back on the 55th minute,  but a penalty converted by Nikolics in the 69th minute gave him his 2nd of the game and restored Videoton’s 2 goal margin.  It finished, Pécs 1 Videoton 3.  Videoton remain 3rd, but putting pressure on Gyõr now. The heady heights of 6th for last season’s 2nd division champions.

The divisions bottom two met in Budapest, where home side Vasas welcomed winless Zalaegerszeg to the Illovszky Rudolf Stadion. 2000 fans saw the return of midfielder Balázs Tóth for the home side after a move from 2nd division Gyirmót and fittingly he scored in just 7 minutes, and that’s how it remained at half time.  ZTE had been playing very well recently despite their position and it was no surprise when Jasarevic equalised on 73 minutes. This sparked a crazy last 15, when Brkics put the away side 2-1 up just 2 minutes after their equaliser, but dreaming of that first win, their lead lasted all of 3 minutes as Dajic made it 2-2. A point probably not enough for ZTE who need wins to stand any hope, but they would of took that after Kovács broke their hearts in the 90th minute to give Vasas a 3-2 win. Great entertainment that leaves ZTE rock bottom on 8 points while Vasas sit 13th in what is going to be an incredibly tight battle to avoid the last relegation place.

 

Another fantastic crowd at the DVTK Stadion as 9000 fans watched Diósgyőr play Újpest. One goal was enough to settle this one and it came from former Real Madrid man Fernando in the 75th minute, following a neat build up. Újpest looked a tired side after their midweek away defeat in the first leg of the Hungarian cup semi-finals, and they remain in the relegation mix, currently occupying 12th place with 21 points. This 1-0 win moves DVTK up to 5th place, now just 2 points behind  Honvéd in 4th.

Gyõr’s game at home to Paks on Sunday was held up for 2 hours as the stadium was evacuated due to a bomb threat. A telephone call to the club said that a bomb had been planted and set to go off at 4pm, which was the scheduled kick off time.  Thankfully, after a search,  nothing was found and first reports suggested this was the work of Siófok fans looking for revenge following a recent fight between the two sets of supporters.  On the pitch, it was the last 30 minutes of this match that provided great entertainment, as firstly Koltai put Gyõr ahead from the penalty spot on 62 minutes. This was the first of 3 goals in 5 minutes for the home side with Trajkovics doubling the lead on 65 minutes before Pátkai scored just 2 minutes later. Magasföldi scored for Paks on 73 minutes but Gyõr and Pátkai weren’t finished yet as he netted his second on 81 minutes. Great entertainment for the 2200 fans in attendance, but it was the TV audience who lost out, with this game being cancelled for live broadcast due to the earlier hold up. This win for Gyõr puts them just 4 points behind leaders Debrecen and 6 points ahead of 3rd place Videoton. Paks sit in 8th position, exactly mid table.

8000 fans were inside the Rohonci úti Stadion in Szombathely as Ferencváros were in town to play Haladás. Kenesei had the first chance to put the home side ahead after a penalty was awarded in the 30th minute, but he duly missed and it remained even at half time. Ferencváros then took the lead on 56minutes as Kulcsár scored. It was looking like Fradi would hold out for all 3 points before referee Viktor Kassai awarded another penalty to Haladás on 86 minutes. This time Kenesei converted and a draw looked the likely result. Not, however in the minds of Haladás, as late into injury time, Kenesei netted the winner. Ferencváros were left fuming at the referee and drop to  10th place in the division as Haladás leapfrogged them to move into 9th.

 

This was truly a magnificent weekend for Hungarian football, with big crowds and great matches a brilliant and much needed advert for the game. Fingers crossed for more of the same next week!

 

Next week’s league fixtures:

Siófok vs Diósgyőr (Friday)

Ferencváros vs Vasas

Kecskemét vs Haladás

Lombard Pápa vs Pécs

Paks vs Kaposvár

ZTE vs Gyõri ETO

Újpest vs Debrecen (Sunday)

Videoton vs Honvéd (Sunday)

 

Hungarian League cup semi-final first legs:

Lombard Pápa vs Videoton (Tuesday)

Kecskemét vs Debrecen (Wednesday)

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