The atmosphere was electric and the crackle could be heard like a Sovet tram with poor connection to the overhead lines on a particularly dry night. Fans had swept in from all corners of the city in anticipation of the first game of the spring season 2014/15. Extra buses had been laid on and the police presence was higher than usual. Tickets had sold out for the game weeks ago and it would be the first time that the Bozsik Jozsef Stadion would be full since the 1988/89 season. Hoardes of blue flooded to the stadium with cries of MTK ringing out into the cold, February air. One portly young man was letting off flares from a wall overlooking the stadium. In the distance, the faint shouts of an agitated away support could be heard.
We found our way onto the terrace. Fortunately, there was still space for three with some twenty minutes until kick-off. The announcement of the team caused a surge of tension. Groppioni in goal? Vadnai a left back? Baki at CB (has he played all season)? Hrepka up top? No Vass A, Kalnoki-Kis, Kelemen, Hegedus, Torhelle or Horvath Zs. The excited anticipation gave way to nervous trepidation. Had anyone ever seen Groppioni play? Could Vadnai slot in at LB?
Injured players look like rabbits in headlights
These nerves were dissipated as the roar of MTK’s legendary home support radiated confidence as they greeted the players on to the pitch. Known as the Wall of Sound, the noise almost stopped the opposition Paks players in their tracks. Paralysed by fear like all teams faced with MTK, this support effectively gives MTK a goal start. An amazing tifo display accompanied the noise, showing Putin doing unspeakable things over the town of Paks and its infamous nuclear power station. Wit.
TimmyBacsi also suffered a serious injury
The barrage of sound continued as the referee signaled the start of the game. MTK were tentative. No doubt over keen to repay their enviable support, but nerves had contaminated the team particularly Groppioni who was at sea like a three-eyed fish. Paks seemed to put aside their paralysis and seize off the encouragement of their faintly audible away support and their irritating drum. MTK’s make shift back four were having trouble with Paks’ movement and Thiam (in for Vass) was not looking as mobile as he had done pre-Christmas. Fortunately, the selection of easily available craft beer was calming the nerves somewhat. Those nerves were fully calmed when on 37 minutes Kanta showed that he can be better than Messi whilst stumbling surged through the Paks defence like a nuclear power rod melting through Ukrainian built concrete shell, squaring to Bese to calmly slot into the roof of the net. Roar. The surge of the crowd, the noise, the flares. Chaos. Paks came avoided meltdown and came back strong. Vadnai’s mutation into a makeshift left back went wrong as he chernobyled the advancing right winger in the box. 1-1. A very strong reaction from Paks to go in level, but to be honest they were a little unlucky not to be ahead having made most of the play. The second half started as something of a damp squib with neither team wanting to seize the intiative. Not until Poloskei dropped a bomb from 35 yards. Hitting a free-kick that moved in the air like a neutron just released from the fusion of deuterium with tritium (I will stop now). From the stands, it looked a goalkeeping howler. In reality, the dip, swerve and pace on the ball gave him little chance. MTK had again seized the iniative. This time it was initiative that they would not relinquish. MTK are generally good at closing out games from winning positions. In fact, they have not dropped points in any NB1 game where they have been leading. And again they sucked the life out of the game. The home fans warmed to the procession of possession football that they were witnessing as Paks struggled to regain a foothold in the game. Indeed, on 85 minutes the Doctor (on as a substitute) found himself clear and lofted the ball over the advancing keeper and into the empty net. Torghelle kindly following the ball in without pinching the glory. 3-1. Game over. On the pitch. Off the pitch, the fans gave a ten minute non-stop rendition of MTK’s unofficial anthem. The final whistle blew, MTK players showed their thanks to the fans and disappeared into the night. So, I was right again. 3-1. Groppioni tried his best to concede a howler, but in the end was only (just) beaten by a penalty. Poloskei scored a wonder goal and Bese and Horvath chipped in for the inverted winger position. Still no goals for the strikers (Hrepka and, his replacement, Torghelle). On another day, MTK could have been two down at half time. But playing poorly and winning seems to be a recurring feature for this side. Vidi conceded a last minute goal at Gyor meaning the gap is now six points. Hear that Andras?!?
Ps. There were 350 people there and you can only drink overgaseous Borsodi. I lied. The atmosphere was flat as usual. Next week MTK are away at Honved (aka Away Home). Taking 350 would mean a fairly decent showing in the away end.