‘Jo_Jo_Joseph, you know what they say. Jo_Jo_Joseph, you’ll make it some day!’
Varga Jozsef finally made it. In my mind at least. Always unimpressed by his performances for the Hungarian national team where his combatitive style looked about as at home as Trevor Benjamin would for Barcelona. Hidvegi Sandor seemed so unconcerned by Jozsef’s presence that he was happy to roll the ball to him in the middle of the park before Jozsef made us all eat our words (well made me eat my words) by slamming one into the back of the net off the underside of the cross-bar. 1-0 down after ten or so minutes against the current form team (Vidi no longer count) and last year’s champions at their place.
To be clear, I did not make it to ‘their place’. Public transport it seems does not run after 19.00 from Debrecen on a Sunday evening so with a kick-off time of 18.30 the prospect of being stranded in a town that probably makes Pozsony look beautiful looked very real. With that in mind, I decided to watch the game from the safety of a Buda sports bar. (Incidentally, it took about as long to get to Buda as would have to have hitch-hiked back from Debrecen).
MTK always struggle when they concede first. Their style of sitting deep and hitting advancing opponents on the counter breaks down when the opponents are happy to pass the ball around the back four in the safe knowledge that MTK rarely press high up the pitch. Horvath looked good again and continues to impress with his direct running, but in all honesty MTK struggle to make much happen in the first period other than Nagy Tibor (in to give poor Poor Patrick a deserved rest) flashing one across the box with too much venom for Sanyi.
Debrecen had a goal ruled out for the most offside of offsides. This did not stop the commentators, home fans and bench sounding shocked when it was disallowed. Varga missed out on a second when he unfathomably saw his header from six yards bounce over the bar.
Half-time saw the introduction of Vass Patrick for Bese (a decision that I did not entirely agree with, but one where my opinion was neither unimportant nor correct as it transpired) who looked like the man he was last season. Providing some well needed incision down the right. On 60 minutes, one of MTK’s transitions from defence to quick attack worked as Poloskei ran through a converted with a second bite of the cherry. A cherry that Debrecen’s goalkeeper had kindly pushed back into the path of the grateful Zsolt. 1-1. Why didn’t we go? The ten or so MTK fans that had made the journey were delirious including the random old guy (80) who is the only other person to travel on public transport. How was he getting home??
MTK looked the likelier to get the next goal as the Doctor continued his impressive form making a mockery of Debrecen’s left flank. Debrecen had resorted to halting MTK attacks early by bringing the man down. A few yellow cards followed. Deservedly there should have been more. Debrecen were increasingly resorting to hit and hope at Sidibe who seemingly has feet shaped like Toblerone. Fortunately for his team, one of their long balls found his arm which he used to paddle the ball down to a teammate in the box. Hang on one second. This is football and hands and arms can only be used by goalkeepers in the confine of their own penalty box. The referee who was no more than ten metres away saw nothing of it. (This was a referee who had earlier beckoned the same player to get up after slipping over the ball before deciding on a free kick for the same incident some three seconds later.) He may not have seen the handball, but he certainly saw a penalty in the coming together of Vukmir and a Debrecen player with low gravity tolerance. Was it a penalty? Possibly just about (I really am being objective), but the handball was as clear as day (not a Scottish day, but an Eastern Mediterranean one). Some Debrecen player slotted away the penalty to make it 2-1 with ten to play. (Even Gy who was pretending to work had her fingers crossed)
Trying to look angry: Shabab goes for rockstar fingers (I think).
MTK went hard and tried to force the game. The Doctor was incensed the ref did not give a handball in the box (would have been harshed) and was taken aback when a Debrecener pushed him high on the chest in the ensuing melee while the ball was still in play. Debrecen continued to schythe down MTK whenever they got up a head of steam (is that why you are champions?) including a two footer that escaped any punishment. Even MTK players were challenging for headers in the middle of the park, they were under threat of assault. Bodi nearly crushed Kalnoki-Kis’s trachea with a flailing elbow. It was one of those incidents where you think something really bad has happened as the victim struggles for breath while players furiously beckon to the bench. Fortunately after three minutes of being prostrate, he was able to continue although appeared reluctant to let go of his own throat. Bodi was booked for one of the worse challenges I have seen this season. I am pretty sure that Kalnoki-Kis did not see the funny side when he was sent off after cleanly winning the ball, a couple of minutes later in what proved to be the last act of the game. (Turned out on Monday that Kalnoki-Kis was still unable to eat solid food – get well soon.)
Debrecen were a very ‘professional’ outfit and the referee (for the third week in a row) was poor. MTK deserved something from the game, but are in need of well deserved break.
The trip back from Buda was miserable…I need a break. A 15km run managed to get the anger/misery out of my system (just).
A picture totally unrelated to the game or football.
Hajra MTK – see you at the end of February (assuming I am still living (in Hungary)).