After a difficult start to the season that had seen Honved lose their opening two games and throw away a two-goal lead at home to Paks last weekend to draw 3-3, Sunday’s Budapest Derby had an air of the ‘must-win’ about it for Tam Courts and his charges.
A fourth game without a win going into another Budapest Derby next Sunday away at Ferencvaros would have put the Scot in uncomfortable position very early on in his Hungarian adventure. With a section of the support already showing signs of concern, leaving the Illovszky Rudolf without at least a point was unthinkable.
Like Honved, home side Vasas was also in the hunt for their first win of the campaign following their promotion from NBII in the summer. However, unlike Honved, Vasas was yet to taste defeat this season with 3 successive draws to start their season.
The Budapest Derby Experience
As is now the norm at evening games at the Illovszky we were treated to a pre-match light-show to help build the atmosphere. With the lights dazzling on and off, the stands behind the goals rocking to the club anthems of both sides, and the rain lashing down the scene was set for an entertaining 90+ minutes of football.
Vasas started the brighter side dominating possession and looking to take the game to Honved, yet it was the visitors who had the first real opportunity of match as Zsoter flashed a freekick just wide of Dombo’s left-hand post.
On 10 minutes Vasas broke the deadlock and, with the inevitability that football often throws up, it was former Honved midfielder Patrik Hidi who claimed the goal. After a corner from Hidi himself had been punched back to the taker by Szappanos, Hidi whipped a dangerous cross-shot in to the 6-yard box. What should have been a fairly routine claim for Szappanos was made more difficult as the ball skipped up off the wet surface with the keeper only able to palm the ball into his own net.
The normally reliable Szappanos made amend for his earlier error midway through the half denying Rado in a 1 on 1; however, a late flag from the linesman meant the striker was offside in any event.
Szilagyi was next to squander a scoring opportunity for Vasas, anxiously shooting into Prenga’s midriff instead of trying to place the ball in a corner.
Honved’s Fighting Spirit
Vasas would live to rue their missed opportunities just after the half hour mark as Richie Ennin tapped home his first goal for the club to level the scores. Dombo, making his first start in the Vasas goal, spilled a right wing cross from the dynamic Kocsis, and when Zsoter squared the lose ball to Ennin the Canadian was on hand to roll the ball home.
Szappanos was called on again shortly after the leveller to deny Silye with a top drawer save to keep the left back’s dipping volley from bulging the net. However, it was Honved who ended the half stronger with Zsoter twice going close and Gomis beginning to dominate the midfield.
A tactical reshuffle at the break saw Honved switch to a back four with the extra man providing additional stability against the Vasas attack and limiting their hosts to long range efforts.
The work rate of Zsoter, physical presence of Lukic, and pace of Ennin provided a constant threat to Vasas on the break and on 64 minutes that latter two combined to give Honved the lead. On this occasion it was Ennin who turned provider teeing Lukic up who received with his back to goal before spinning and firing into the roof of the goal.
Kuttor retaliated by bringing two wingers – Geresi and Cipf – into the fray as Vasas went in search of an equaliser and share of the Derby spoils.
Courts, on the other hand, orchestrated several positional and tactical changes as his players began to feel the effects of a hard night’s work. Prenga and second-half sub Doka both made vital interceptions in the final minutes as Honved closed ranks and saw the game out with great defensive discipline to record a first win of the season.
What They Said
“I think we played good football. We played a good match against Honvéd, even after the goal we had opportunities to increase our advantage, we had more chances than our opponent. But it’s no use playing good football and no use of having chances if we don’t punish with a goal. On the other hand, the opponent scores from our unforced errors. From this point of view, it was an instructive match. In the end, we were pressed for time, we couldn’t patiently build an attack, the Honvéd also set up to defend, at this time the fate of the attackers is difficult even if there are many on the pitch.”Attila Kuttor, Vasas
“We saw a very exciting match tonight, Vasas is a good team. In this match, we showed what kind of character the team has, since we managed to come back from a goal behind. We started the match well, we fought, we drove, I think Péter Szappanos’ mistake with the goal was due to the wet ground. Even after the conceded goal, I felt that the players stuck to their tactics, were calm, measured, and believed that we could recover from the deficit. I’m very happy that we got our first victory, it’s overdue, it was nice to celebrate with the fans.Tam Courts, Honved