The Hungarian national football team came back from a disadvantage to win 2-1 against Serbia in Thursday’s European Championship qualifier, thus confirming their lead in the group. Although the Serbs took the lead after ten minutes through Attila Szalai’s own goal, the Hungarians turned the game around with goals from Barnabás Varga and Willi Orbán between the 34th and 36th minutes. Mihály Kata made his debut for Hungary on the national team.
With the success in Belgrade, Marco Rossi’s team moved three points ahead of their biggest rivals and now leads the group with 10 points at the halfway stage. The top two teams out of five qualify for next year’s continental tournament in Germany.
Because of UEFA’s closed-gate punishment – in March, Serbian fans chanted discriminatory slogans in a 2-0 win over Montenegro – only children were allowed to attend the match, with around 10,000 of them filling one of the long stands.
The Hungarians started with a lot of courage, with several promising moves down the right flank, but the passes were not accurate and no situation was created. Then, goalkeeper Dénes Dibusz’s poor clearance was immediately punished by the Serbs, who took the lead with a Hungarian own goal, giving Rossi’s team their first goal of the qualifying series. There was soon another serious Serbian attempt by Radonjic and Vlahovic, but it did not result in a goal.
After the Hungarian team settled down, the minutes were mostly spent in field play, with the right side of both sides more active, but the bigger threat came from sporadic Serbian attacks.
In offense, the Hungarians continued to play bravely, and as soon as they managed to make a succession of moves and key passes, they managed to turn the game around in three minutes, and went into the break with the lead.
Photo: Facebook/MLSZ – Magyar Labdarúgó Szövetség
In the second half, Serbians dominated the first few minutes, but the Hungarian defense, led by goalkeeper Dibusz, held firm. After a quarter of an hour, the pressure on the Hungarian goal eased and they managed to gain some possession and break the game. The Serbian team’s momentum was a little broken, though Vlahovic still had a chance, but he missed from close range. Although the Serbs managed to regain the upper hand at the end of the second half, the Hungarian defense remained very solid, and the national team took all three points in the group match in Belgrade.
We played very well in the first half, we stuck to our tactics even when we were behind, managed to turn the game around and deservedly led at the break.
But in Belgrade we have to suffer for the success, which comes from the strength of the Serbian team. And we suffered a lot. We played with heart in the second half and we can be grateful to Dibusz for his great saves,” assessed the Hungarian team’s manager Rossi after the match. Serbian head coach, Dragan Stojkovic, also praised Dibusz for his fantastic saves at the start of the second half.
The Hungarian team’s head coach, Marco Rossi. Photo: Facebook/MLSZ – Magyar Labdarúgó Szövetség
It is unbelievable the development we have made mentally. Five years ago when I was appointed, I never would have imagined that the team would have such incredible confidence. I cannot remember a single game, even in defeat, when we did not fight.”
The Hungarians will host the Czechs in a friendly match at Puskás Arena in Budapest on Sunday at 6 p.m., while they will continue their European Championship qualifying campaign at home against the Serbs on October 14.
Via MTI, Featured photo via Facebook/MLSZ – Magyar Labdarúgó Szövetség