Top-Flight Football Returns: Fradi kick-on as Ujpest slump continues

Back in action. Photo: Action sports.

The NBI returned to action on Saturday following its annual 6-week winter hiatus with league leaders Ferencvaros picking up where they left off in 2019, demolishing Paksi by four goals to nil at the Groupama Arena in the days early kick-off.

Goals from the outstanding Ukrainian Zubkov (2), Boli, and Isael saw Fradi extend their lead over closest rivals MOL Fehervar to 7 points ahead of the Székesfehérvár sides game later in the afternoon at home to Honved. Unfortunately for Vidi, they could only muster up a goalless draw in new coach Jaon Carillo’s first match in charge, thus leaving Ferencvaros with a commanding 6 point lead and a game in hand at the top.

High-flying surprise package Mezőkövesd Zsóry maintained their push for a top-three finish, and European qualification, with a fine 1-0 at home to Kisvarda thanks to an early goal from defender Andrij Nesterov. Unfancied Mezőkövesd has brought a breath of fresh to the league this season with their offensive displays spearheaded by Georgian international Budu Zivzivadze who leads the clubs goal scoring charts with goals so far.

Elsewhere, Diosgyor secured a valuable three points with a strong 3-1 victory away to Zalaegerszeg, and relegation favourites Kaposvari Rakoczi got 2020 off to a positive start with a 1-1 draw against European hopefuls Puskas Akademia.

However, the showpiece game of the day was reserved for the evening kick-off slot as Debrecen played host to under-performing Ujpest at the Nagyerdei Stadion.

Ujpest, traditionally one of the league’s big hitters, are currently going through a season of discontent which culminated in the departure of NBI top scorer Robert Feczesin during the winter break to NBII side Vasas. Owned by the controversial Duchatelet family, Ujpest are unlikely to invest much in replacing Feczesin, making coach Nebojša Vignjevic’s job of turning the season around even harder.

To exemplify just how difficult the second half of the season will be for Vignjevic and Ujpest, the Serbian was forced to sit through a dreadful 90 minutes of football as a lackluster Lilak, clearly low on confidence, were taken apart time after time by Debrecen as the home side romped to a 4-0 victory under the guidance of new coach Zoltan Vitelki.

The coming weekend sees NBI continue with MD 18, and also sees the return of the NBII.

The stand–out NBI fixture will once again feature Ujpest as they host MOL Fehervar, while in NBII the game of the weekend sees second-placed Budafoki take on fourth-placed Csakvari. However, Budapest eyes will also be on the Rudolf Illovszky where Vasas, bolstered by the arrival of Robert Feczesin, take on Bekescsaba.

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