Goals from Filip Holender (2) and one time Liverpool and Ross County striker David N’gog saw Honved ease to a comfortable 3-0 victory over visitors Paksi in Round 25 of the NB1 season. The result keeps Honved in the chase for European qualification while leaving Paksi in mid-table and 6-points above the relegation zone.
A fairly healthy 1,400 souls braved a dreich and dreary Saturday afternoon, forgoing other warmer indoor pursuits, in order to swell the Nandor Hidegkuti in search of raw football and entertainment. Thanks to Messrs Holender and N’gog, the majority of those in attendance left with smiles on their faces at the end result, if not the overall product on the pitch.
After a brief communication breakdown when purchasing my match ticket – the lady at the ticket office tried to sell me the most expensive ticket in the house, not realising that us Scots are really stingy bastards – I found myself in with the Honved Ultras for the game.
IN WITH THE ULTRAS
Thankfully, like me, these guys like to stand to watch their football and, led by two microphone-wielding ‘Capo’s’ at the front of the stand, also like to indulge in a sing-song for the majority of the game. Handy if the football’s not up to much. However, it may also have been a blessing in disguise that I don’t know the words to all the songs. Ignorance, as they say, is bliss.
As is the norm in Hungary, the match was preceded by a rendition of the National Anthem, Himnusz. However, as the game took place just one day after the National Day of Remembrance for the Heroes of the 1848 Revolution, the normally sombre anthem reverberated around the echoic chamber that is the Nandor Hidegkuti Stadion with renewed passion and gusto. As an outsider to this tradition, I was moved by the sight of several lairy and heavy set chaps in front of me tearing up as the anthem reached its crescendo; a truly spine-tingling, hairs on the back of the neck moment.
Seconds later and the heavy set chaps were back to supping on their pints and chanting “Csak a Kispest”; normal service resumed.
As expected, with neither side in particularly good form going into the game, the opening exchanges were a tense affair, both sides struggling to find a rhythm and looking ill at ease when in possession.
It’s an old cliché, but as the half wore on scoring the first goal took on increased significance as a means of calming one of the sides down. And so it came in the 27th minute with virtually the first meaningful shot on goal from either side.
A long clearance by Honved’s Eke Uzoma was helped on by N’gog, picking out Holender’s run through the middle. Once in possession, Holender was able to outpace the Paksi defence before slotting past the keeper. 1-0 Honved and a happy set of Ultras around me.
CRUISE CONTROL FOR HONVED
As expected, Honved settled into the game after the opener and, despite never really getting into top gear, began to take control of the game and there was a sense of inevitability that a second goal was coming.
Once again, it was that man Holender, who is growing into a real leader on the pitch for Honved, who grabbed the goal. The striker re-directing David N’gog cross back across goal and out of reach of Nagy, the Paksi keeper, to double the hosts advantage at the break.
The second half picked up where the first ended with Honved in control and Paksi, to a man, not at the races.
If the second goal had an air of inevitability about it, then the third could have been signposted with neon lights as Paksi appeared to give up the ghost. On this occasion, the Paksi defence was split apart far too easily allowing Mezghrani to hit the byline before cutting the ball back inside to N’gog to slide home and add his name to score sheet after two previous assists.
With the game sewn up, Honved sat back giving up possession to Paksi who finally managed to get their own dangerman, Remili, involved in the game, started creating chances of their own, and were unlucky not to score on at least one occasion. By that time, however, the damage had been done and it was all a little too late for Paksi as Honved held out to record a vital win and secure a much needed 3 points.
ROUND 25 – ROUND-UP
Elsewhere in Round 25, league leaders Ferencvaros maintained their 8 point advantage at the top thanks to a 2-0 win over relegation threatened Haladas. Second placed MOL Vidi beat Mezokovesd-Zsory 1-0 at home, and there were also victories for Puskas Akademia, Ujpest, and Debrecen. Interestingly, all home sides won their Round 25 fixtures. There’s no NB1 next week as the Nemzeti Tizenegy takes on Slovakia (Away) on Thursday before facing the might of Croatia at the Groupama on Sunday 24th March in Euro 2020 Qualifiers.
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