Back on Track (Vác vs. Vasas FC)

Soroksár SC’s Mihály Szamosi Sporttelep: One of the more homely grounds I’ve visited.

Due to my recent wedding, honeymoon and work schedule (Wednesday night games are always a bugger for an English teacher), it’s been a while since I’ve been to see the boys in piros-kék (that’s red and blue to all you non-Magyars).

To remedy this we set out to Soroksár – Budapest’s District 23: the least populous and southernmost of the city’s neighborhoods, and the final one numerically. It’s the deep dark of Budapest where the city stops looking like a city, beyond even the socialist tower blocks that characterise the outer suburbs.

But it’s not Soroksár SC that we’re here to see, rather our old nemesis Vác (they of the underground mummies mentioned in this post from last season). I assume Vác are redeveloping their stadium (let’s face it, everyone here is) and are lodgers here in District XXIII. It means that the “home” fans are massively outnumbered as well (the ground is less than an hour from Vasas’s own District XIII).

Last year’s scoreline was 7 (seven)- 4 to Vasas, so no pressure boys, but I’m expecting goals.

Home of Soroksár, The Bees of Budapest (possibly)

Vasas go on the attack early but the initial exchanges are a bit tame. Vác, who sit second bottom of the league, have nothing to offer and are content to sit back and enjoy their new surroundings. They’re clearly low on confidence and with good reason given their attacking “threat” (more of a under-the-breath muttering really), content instead to hold the game tight lest it slip away.

It’s nice to see a bit of composure from Vasas in the face of this, something which they often lack. They don’t get panicked, instead sticking to their guns, probing and prodding until a lovely slide-rule pass after 26 minutes sets Balajti away. He’s one-on-one with the keeper and when the Eger Assassin has the ball at his feet in those situations, there’s only one way it’s going to end. 1-0 Vasas.

After the opener Vasas control the half without really threatening. 20 year old Milan Kovacs is a growing (no pun, although the resemblance to a young Peter Crouch is uncanny) force in midfield, hustling about and winning balls with his spiderlike legs. He’s a beneficiary of a rule in the Hungarian league which ensures that clubs must give young players game time, but Vasas are benefiting just as much as he is from his growing maturity. He’s definitely got an air of future captaincy about him.

After a half time beer (brand unseen) at the adorable little Büfé, it’s onto a second half full of goals.

First is my man Botond Birtalan. He and Balajti break away and Bala unselfishly rolls the ball into his strike partner’s feet to double the lead. For all that Balajti is a ball-hungry, goal-grabbing showman, he gets his fair share of assists. He might have his share of detractors but is always in the mix and scores for fun, while Birtalan is Vasas’s hardworking Mr. Dependable. 2-0 in the 59th minute.

Next it’s Lóri Szatmári’s turn to get on the scoresheet. Often the unsung hero of the Vasas midfield, Szatmári is a capable player too, and one I’ve started to pay more attention too. He’s a willing out-ball for the attack and can put in a mean cross, but here he’s on the other end. His cool finish puts any remaining chance of the Vác mummies rising from the crypt to bed.

Zoltán Szedlár (newly-returned from Dorog) makes it 4-0 late in the game. A little head-tennis in the box after a long cross and the winger has the easiest job in the world to nod it home – but you don’t buy a ticket, you don’t win the raffle, so fair play to him for getting stuck in there when his team are 3 up with 2 minutes to play.

Vác 0 – 4 Vasas (Balajti, Birtalan, Szatmári, Szedlár)

After a pretty dire few weeks, hopefully this win (which puts Vasas 7th) can start a surge. They need to more quickly though as they’re already 6 points away from the promotion places.

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