After a four-year wait, NBI football finally returned to Angyalföld last night (Friday) as Vasas welcomed Paks to the Illovszky Rudolf Stadion on Matchday Two of the new season.
Vasas, bolstered by the recent arrival of Filip Holender, were on the hunt for their first win of the season following a goalless draw last weekend with fellow newbies Kecskemet. Visitors Paks, on the other hand, came into the game sitting top of the table after their opening day win at home to MOL Fehervar.
Joy and Despair, the Vasas way
The home side thought they had gotten off to the perfect start when Holender bundled home an Otigba flick-on from a long throw-in by Barath. However, after a lengthy delay and VAR check, the goal was disallowed for handball much to the annoyance of the 2,500-strong home support.
The mood in the home support would turn from bad to worse as Paks took an early lead at the 7-minute mark.
Barnabas Varga, hugely impressive throughout the game, did well to hold off the challenge of the Vasas defence before cutting the ball back to Bence Szabo who curled an effort beyond Levente to give the guests the lead.
Paks began to take control of the game following Szabo’s opener, dominating the midfield and looking to get players forward quickly to support Varga upfront; Szabo (Bence) and Haraszti, in particular, breaking the lines and causing the Vasas backline problems with their intelligent movement.
However, just as it looked like the game might be slipping away from Vasas, summer signing Patrik Hidi decided to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and drag the hosts back into it.
On 37 minutes Hidi split the Paks defence with a slide rule pass for Rado who proceeded to square for Holender to score – this time the goal stood – and the hosts were level.
Then, on 45 minutes, Hidi cut out the middle man to become provider, setting up Rado to side foot home and give Vasas a 2-1 lead at the break, slightly against the run of play.
Down but not out, Paks stepped up a level in the second half with immediate reward as Haraszti’s deflected effort squirmed past Levente to level the scores.
Paks continued to dominate possession as the half wore on but could not create a clear opening to regain their lead, as Vasas looked content to sit in and hit Paks on the break.
Eventually, with 10 minutes to play, Vasas broke out of their defensive shell and began taking risks going forward. Hinora and late substitute Sandor Hidi caused problems down the right-hand side but were just not able to carve out the match-winning chance.
Handbags without the Gladrags
As the game petered out a mass brawl ensued down by the Paks technical area as Filip Holender took offence to Paks manager Robert Waltner being too close to the touchline as the former looked to keep an errant pass in play.
Players and officials from both sides were quickly on the scene as a few hand cannons were thrown from both teams as the flashpoint threatened to take away from the spectacle of an otherwise enthralling game.
Thankfully, the players were quickly separated and the game was brought to a prompt end before tempers could flare further.