The Hungarian top flight is truly one of the most competitive, entertaining leagues in Europe this season and this weekend’s late drama in five of the six matches only confirmed that perception. Round 16 had it all and, when each game was coming to a close, the thrills just got started in four separate venues.
Marek Streštik got the fireworks started on 86 minutes at Városi Stadion when he nosed Mezőkövesd past Videoton – that was the earliest decider. The rest came in injury time. Roland Ugrai netted his first of the season at Nagyerdei to give DVTK the win on 92 minutes. A minute later József Windecker ended Újpest’s frustrating run of draws with a late winner over Gyirmót, and Dávid Holman’s deflected free kick at the death found it’s way into the far corner of the net to cap a deserved draw for Debrecen at MTK’s Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion in the 96th minute.
And if the final five minutes of four of the afternoon matches weren’t dramatic enough, they wouldn’t overshadow the late theatrics in the Vasas and Ferencváros derby. Here’s a full recap of all the action:
Mezőkövesd 2-1 Videoton
A fabulous floating cross from Gábor Molnár was neatly headed home at the far post by Tarmo Kink to draw first blood after just 9 minutes in Mezőkövesd. Videoton were level before the half hour when Marko Scepovic took advantage of Tamás Szeles’ slip and collected a through pass from Danko Lazovic before cooly slotting past the onrushing keeper for his sixth of the season.
Chances came fast and furious in the second half at both ends, but it was a quick free kick by Stipe Bacelic-Grgic that caught the Vidi defense on their heels. The ball was controlled by Marek Streštik and easily fired past Ádám Kovácsik for the winner. Shocking.
DVTK 2-1 Haladás
Red-hot Bálint Gaál scored his fourth goal in five games to put Haladás ahead early, volleying home a poorly-cleared ball from inside the six yard box. However, István Bognár came off the bench for DVTK on 65 minutes and changed the game. The equalizer came off a Bognár corner as Zoltán Lipták took advantage poor Haladás clearing and slammed home a loose ball from ten yards. Bognár had a shot from the edge of the area come back off the post on 78 and created panic with a cross that was fired over the bar minutes later. Pandemonium ensued when Diego Vela fell in the area but all appeals for a penalty were given a deaf ear by referee József Erdös. All this only set the stage for Roland Ugrai who somehow managed to squeeze a shot through four defenders and inside the near post for this first of the season. Unbelievable.
Gyirmót 1-2 Újpest
It couldn’t be any sweeter for Lilák as they battled from behind with just 12 minutes remaining. Gyirmót held off a Újpest assault for most of the game that included Enis Bardhi rattling the crossbar on two occasions on either side of the break. The hosts had gone ahead after a Patrik Vass cross was sublimely finished at the back post by defender Mijusko Bojovic for his first of the season. The visitors were level six minutes later when a deflected János Lázok shot looped over the keeper and in for his fourth. The killer blow came in injury time when a deep Bardhi corner found József Windecker who cushioned a header back across goal and into the far corner. Bedlam.
MTK Budapest 1-1 Debreceni VSC
Debrecen goalkeeper Branislav Danilovic came close to being sent off for arguing a penalty call by referee Sandor Andó-Szabó early in the second half. Danilovic was adjudged to have brought down Bálint Vogiycska in the area and was booked for the challenge. MTK skipper József Kanta converted the penalty to give the hosts the lead before the hour.
Debrecen defender Dusan Brkovic made a marvelous sliding tackle inside the penalty area on Szabolcs Varga later in the half to give them a chance. Then, after it seemed MTK would hold off a period of late, intense pressure by the visitors, Holman curled a free kick from the edge of the box that beat Danijel Petkovic and handed Debrecen a share of the points. Amazing.
Vasas 2-2 Ferencváros
Then, in the second half of the day’s double feature, the Budapest Derby – it had everything. Fradi struck first when Marco Djuricin latched onto a quickly-taken free kick by Seung-Woo Ryu and surged down the left flank before firing past Gergely Nagy on 9 minutes. Minutes later referee Viktor Kassai awarded the first of four penalties on the day when Gergo Lovrencsics knocked down Mohamed Remeli as he received a pass inside the area. However, Dénes Dibusz got a strong hand to Martin Ádám’s spot kick to deny the host’s equalizer.
Early in the second half Ferencváros were reduced to ten men. Left back Cristian Ramirez was shown a straight red card when he stamped Vasas defender Tamás Vasko after a collision.
It was déjà vu on 72 minutes when Lovrencsics brought down Remeli inside the area again. This time it was Mahir Saglik who would take the spot kick, but Dibusz came to the rescue again – tipping the shot onto the bar and then slapping the rebound away from danger.
The plot was just getting interesting.
Saglik was fouled by Dibusz in the 85th minute as they both went for loose ball inside the box and Mr. Kassai awarded a third penalty to the hosts. Before the kick was taken, though, more drama ensued as Saglik was dismissed for head butting a Fradi player, but replays showed there was nothing to it. The third time was the charm for Vasas as István Ferenczi converted the penalty to draw the sides level at 1-1.
Next, it was the champions turn to receive some Kassai love as Dániel Böde was grabbed by Kire Ritevski as he was running into the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Masked-man Zoltán Gera beat Nagy from the spot and Vasas looked vanquished. But this day wouldn’t end so easily for the champions. A day with this much drama, sudden brilliance, and luck could only end with something special. With time running out, Ritevski redeemed himself by picking up a pass from Remeli and flicked a quick, left-footed cross to the top of the six yard box where Ferenczi glanced home the leveler to the raptures of the home crowd. Vasas have truly been a miraculous story this season and this could be the defining game in what is sure to be a memorable season.
Oh, I almost forgot … somewhere along the way Paks drew 1-1 with Honvéd to stay unbeaten at home. See you next week!