The weekend’s NBI action was split across three days with each game given its own individual kick-off slot whilst also being broadcast live on the national sports channel M4 Sports in an attempt to maximise coverage.
First up on Friday evening, league whipping boys Kaposvar were on the receiving end of a heavy defeat 6-0 reverse at home to Zalaegerszeg. The visitors took full advantage of some more than hospitable defending from their hosts to race into a 5-0 lead by the interval, leaving the second 45 minutes as a mere formality.
Saturday saw a triple-header of games take place starting with mid-table Kisvarda heap further woes on under-performing Ujpest. The Budapest side, possibly feeling heavy in the legs following their midweek game against Ferencvaros, slumped to a limp defeat that leaves Lilak hovering just above the relegation places with 7 games remaining.
Seven games they will have to face without long-serving head coach Nebojsa Vignjevics who parted company with the club on Monday afternoon by mutual consent as a consequence of the current dire run of form. The popular Serb was at the helm for 7 years, winning the Magyar Kupa on two occasions and Szuper Kupa once, and has been replaced by fellow Serb Predrag Rogan who will be in the dugout for the first time this weekend in the derby against Honved.
Saturday’s evenings other two fixtures were both drab affairs. Diosgyor picked up a valuable three points against fellow European hopefuls and Kupa finalists Mezokovesd-Zsory; while relegation battlers Paksi earned a hard fought against MOL Fehervar.
Moving to Sunday and the remaining two weekend fixtures which both included sides from Budapest. In the first of the day’s games a confident Honved brushed aside the challenge of Debrecen to record a 3-1 victory, despite ending the game with just 10 men. Victory for Honved see’s them remain in mid-table, but moves the Capital side 8 points clear of the drop zone with the Magyar Kupa Final against Mezokovesd to look forward to on Wednesday evening.
In the final match up of the weekend Puskas Akademia came from a goal behind to seal a draw against league leaders Ferencvaros and deny the visitors the opportunity to further extend their already impressive at the top of the table.
This coming midweek will see the Uj Puskas play centre stage to the Magyar Kupa Final between Honved and Mezokovesd-Zsory. Unlike Mezokovesd, who will be taking part in their first ever Cup final, Honved has a long-standing history in the tournament having lifted the trophy on seven occasions; the last of which came in 2008/09 when they defeated Gyor in the Final.
Will Honved be celebrating another cup success, or can Mezokovesd bring home the first silverware of their 45-year history?
Vignjevics Out as Ujpest Look to Save Season
After seven years in charge at Ujpest, popular Serbian coach Nebojsa Vignjevics has parted ways with the Budapest side following a disappointing run of one win from their last 11 games, which has seen Lilak, as they are commonly known, slide perilously close to the relegation zone.
Saturday’s limp defeat at the hands of Kisvarda, which came hot on the heels of a derby defeat to Ferencvaros, was to be the final act of Vignjevics tenure at Ujpest. The defeat leaves Ujpest in 10th place with only goal difference keeping them out of the drop zone as we head into the final 7 games of the season.
Following the defeat at Kisvarda, Vignjevics cut a forlorn figure as he called into the question the commitment of some of his players in the clubs fight against relegation. With the dressing room lost, consistently poor performances on the park, and reported friction off the park at board level it was apparent that change was needed if Ujpest are to save their season, and NBI status.
To that end, the departure of Vignjevics came as little surprise, however, the swift nature of the appointment of his successor, and former assistant, Predrag Rogan will leave many to speculate that this was no kneejerk reaction to the weekend defeat at Kisvarda.
Looking back on his time at Ujpest, Vignjevics should be fondly remembered as the man who ended Lilak’s 12 year trophy drought when he secured the 2013/14 Magyar Kupa with a penalty shoot-out victory against Diosgyor at the old Puskas Ferenc Stadion.
He would go on to repeat this cup winning feat in the 2017/18 season with Puskas Akademia defeated in the final, also on penalties. The 2017/18 season would also prove to be Vignjevics most successful league campaign, guiding Ujpest to a third place finish.
Throughout his time at Megyeri Ut, Vignjevics showed remarkable character as, through his tactical ability and motivational strengths, he was able to keep his side competitive on the pitch despite the off-field upheaval that comes with managing a club owned by the unpopular Duchatelet family.
Ultimately, a lack of investment in the playing squad over the past few years caught up with Vignjevic and Ujpest. The supporters began to turn their frustrations towards the manager; some of the players stopped fighting; and the opposition began finding more and more holes in the Ujpest defence.
It was an altogether untenable position, and in football, in such circumstances it is easier to replace the coach in an effort to halt a decline than it is to replace a dozen or so players. As a result, Vignjevic paid the ultimate price.
In total, Vignjevics was in charge of Ujpest for a total of 258 games winning a highly respectable 107 (41%), drawing 75 (29%), and losing 76 (29%). He joined with the club battling against relegation and sadly, after many highs, leaves with them fighting against another. Perhaps Rogan will follow in his initial footsteps and take the club to a higher level; for now, NBI survival is all that fans of Lilak ask for. A win at the weekend against Honved in another Budapest derby would go a long way to help secure NBI status for next season.
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