Baptism of Dire (Siofok vs. Vasas)

The latest sacrificial lamb in the Vasas dugout: Szabolcs Schindler.

Going one-nil down against Siofok within a minute was probably not part of new Vasas manager Szabolcs Schindler’s pre-match plan. Going 2-0 down after 15 minutes was probably a fair indication of what managing this ragged and panicky team is going to be like for him. He’s probably a nice fella – he doesn’t deserve this.

Schindler had made the brave decision to drop key striker Ádám Balajti for this one, preferring the bustle and industry of András Radó and Lóri Szatmári in more advanced roles. The recent return of talismanic Jack-from-Tekken forward Robert Feczesin was another plus, but when your defenders’ sole tactic is “dangle a speculative foot” and your midfielder alternate between falling over and helpfully passing straight to the opposition, you could have Messi and Ronaldo leading the line and you’d still struggle.

It’s not that this team should be walking the league (especially with fallen-giants Debrecen scoring for fun), but two wins in eight smells more like relegation form than a promotion push.

A first minute corner gives Siofok the lead through a fine header by Martin Izing. The second goal is avoidable. Another clumsy Róbert Litauszki challenge in a season replete with clumsy Róbert Litauszki challenges allows Balint Gaal (an ex-Vasas player) the chance to sneak a free-kick under the wall and into the far corner. It’s all so simple.

It should’ve been three just before half time. A speculative shot hits the post and the Siofok forward contrives to poke the rebound wide of an empty net.

Vasas are a bit brighter in the second half (a recurring motif for the last few years has been the team only starting to play after going behind). Balajti comes on in the 66th minute and immediately shows his teammates what direct, first-time passing looks like, fizzing a low cross into the box which Feczesin nearly connects with. He also brings a measure of calm up front; the ball generally sticking to his feet as opposed to ballooning out for a throw-in. Naturally then, given Vasas’s luck, he gets injured ten minutes after coming on and has to depart.

With the grim inevitability that every Middlesbrough native knows all too well, the clock continues to trickle down towards another impotent defeat. Vasas slip to 13th in the table and Schindler has a mountain to climb in his new job.

Siofok 2 – 0 Vasas

Other teams I follow:

This weekend was a cracking one, as every team I’ve followed on my travels have lost so far. My hometown Middlesbrough were spirited but toothless against newly-relegated Watford, losing 1-0. In Japan Tokyo Verdy continued their underwhelming start to the J2 League season with a 3-1 defeat to the magnificently named Thespakusatsu Gunma. Bahrain’s relegation-threatened Al-Shabbab play tomorrow.

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