A bout of sickness left me bedridden most of the weekend, so it’s was slightly groggy Englishman that headed over to the Illovszky Rudolf Stadion on Sunday to see Vasas-Győr. Győr is one of Hungary’s bigger cities and is known for its Audi-centric economy (there’s a big factory there). They’re also one of the teams nipping at Vasas’ heels for 3rd spot.
On the bus Mike and I end up talking to a 13 year old Chinese boy, who’s on the way to the game but has no idea which stop he needs to get off at. He seems to be jumping on and off the bus at random (narrowly missing the closing doors, no doubt to the ire of the ever-jolly BKK bus driver), but after hearing us discussing Vasas in English he approaches us and proceeds to demonstrate an encyclopedic knowledge of the NBii league.
A born statistician, Tim rattles off facts about Vasas, MTK Budapest and today’s opposition Győr with a passion for Hungarian football that will be sorely tested in the years to come. Formerly a Honved fan, Tim now supports Újpest, although given their woes I’d suggest a transfer elsewhere before he gets in too deep.
Before he heads off to meet his friend in the VIP section, Tim describes Chinese football as “really bad”. Considering he’s been watching Újpest lately, the mind reels.
But today is about Vasas. Unbeaten in competitive fixtures this decade and on a 3-match winning run, the home side have plenty to be confident about. They might be 9 points away from the promotion places, but the arrival of the wonderful brute Róbert “Frankenstein” Feczesin (until recently the top scorer in the top flight before making the drop to play for Vasas) has proved vital – he’s on 4 goals in his last two games.
But today it’s the lesser-heralded players that make the difference for the Piros-kék (that’s red and blue to us non-Magyars). Vasas are on top in the early going, and when a cross comes in from Vernes on the right, Kristóf Hinora is unmarked to slam the ball home off the crossbar on 23 minutes. Hinora’s resurgence in midfield (alongside 19 year old wunderkind Sándor Hidi, who’s impressing the hell out of everyone right now) is gratifying. After a stop-start few seasons he’s starting to develop into a decent player and shrug off a little of his earlier naivity. 1-0 Vasas.
Another overlooked fella is Ádám Viczián, who arrived from Békéscsaba last July. He was dropped after a poor start to the season but looks confident today and it’s his powerful, unmarked header from a Richárd Vernes corner that makes it 2-0 in the 31st minute.
Vernes himself is also impressing lately. An ungainly looking player with bad tattoos and an ill-thought-out blonde dye-job, he’s working his arse off and deserves his place in the team. He buzzes around today, stealing loose balls and scampering down the wing causing no end of trouble. It’s exactly what Vasas need right now as they can occasionally run out of ideas in attack.
It’s 3-0 after the break. Hidi wins the ball in midfield and plays a beautiful pass to NBii’s cockiest bastard Ádám Balajti, who dinks it over the onrushing keeper. 11 for the season for him so far. Game over.
Győr get one back late on to make it 3-1, but this is Vasas’ day. They take a firmer grasp of 3rd, although wins for Budafoki and MTK (it’s an all Budapest top 3 at the moment) take the wind out of the sails a little. Vasas travel to both those teams this month so this league will either be sown up or all to play for by the end of March.
Vasas 3 -1 WKW ETO FC Győr (Hinora, Viczián, Balajti. Attendance 1600)
So many positives today: keeper Jova was excellent, Terbe and Szatmari industrious and bustling, Hidi shaping up nicely… I can’t wait for the two Budapest derbies this month. Crunch time cometh.