Hungarian football teams have been underperforming in European competitions for many years. It took a shocking 14 years to secure an away win in the group stage. But, finally, MOL-Vidi has achieved it.
Ferencváros was the last to win an away match. Back in 2004, they conquered Scottish side Hearts in Edinburgh. Since then, Hungarian clubs have been rare birds in the group stages of European competitions–with little to no success.
Hardly anyone expected the Székesfehérvárians to break the curse in Saloniki. Following a successful qualifying campaign in the summer, Vidi frustrated fans with a home defeat against BATE Borisov of Belarus in the group stage. The team did much better against Chelsea by heroicly avoiding a heavy defeat, but the result was still a loss, anyway. With no point earned, Vidi traveled to Saloniki and, knowing the strength of Greek football and the frightening atmosphere the masses of Greek supporters can bring, many feared they would run into a siege there.
Szabolcs Huszti celebrating his goal
On the contrary, Hungarian football dreams came true. A well-organized, hard-working and brave Vidi faced PAOK. Szabolcs Huszti, the lone survivor on the pitch from Ferencváros’ 2004 success squad in Scotland, scored an early goal. Just before halftime, he was decisive again: his precise cross found Stopira, who doubled the advantage. The Greek side did not have the strength for a comeback, so both Vidi and Hungarian football could celebrate. It hasn’t only taken 14 years to win an away match in the group stage, it has taken six years to simply win at all. More importantly, with three points Vidi still has a chance to go through to the next round as, besides flawless Chelsea, each team only has one victory.
Marko Nikolic, Vidi’s coach, is the man who deserves the most credit for the success. Having realized the not-so-great qualities of the players at his disposal, he built a determined and organized team that fights with humility from the first second until the last. It is time for the other coaches in Hungary to take notes.