So following a quick cross-country dash from Szekesfehervar (home of Champions elect) to Nyiregyhaza some four and a half hours away, we arrived in town with a cool 25 minutes to spare before kick-off. Queue an expensive 3km taxi journey with a mildly amused taxi driver.
A renovated Soviet Concrete Bowl (Small) with a distinct athletics feel. In fact, the athletic feel led to the worst view of the season from the away end. Not only were we a good 60 yards from the pitch, but we also had to contend with various atheletic paraphernalia including the poles to hold the hammer nets and a weird pole vault mat house. Fortunately, there were only 11 away fans (a new low from the 13 at Gyor) so it was not a huge inconvenience.
Getting into the stadium was something of a feat itself. After being dropped off at the home entrance, it took a while to locate an appropriately unaggressive person to point us in the direction of the away end. But alas, there was no ticket office at the away end so we were required to queue at the home ticket office (again making somewhat of a mockery the fan card segregation. The security guard working the gate then made a derisory attempt to search my bag so I gave him the old clothes fountain which was probably unfair on him, but summed up my annoyance with Hungarian stewards in general.
But we were in, we had access to beer and interestingly to the home section and the home section to the away section also. This resulted in an invasion of two wild children on their scooters together with their Dad. Did MLSZ know about this? Would these children and parents be prohibited from future matches?
Actually, it was a very pleasant atmosphere and a ground that clearly serves the local community (including judging by the discarded glass bottles the local teenagers).
MTK were missing Kanta J and they missed Kanta J. Thiam came in for him in midfield and Polo pushed (or was trying to) into the hole. MTK started lethargically in the ever strengthening Spring sun, but still dominated the game and choked Nyiregyhaza of possession. Doctor and Csiki did not provide much width early doors. The hosts came into the game and after a few pot shots, a cross from the right found a Nyiregyhaza free at the far post to nod to the unmarked striker to nod into the empty net. 1-0. It wasn’t supposed to end this way?!
MTK responded well with Hajdu picking out a frankly ludicrous through ball only for Horvath to hit the ball at the keeper with the goal gaping. Crap. On the stroke of half-time, Csiki found acres of space, lost that space, found some more space and then stroked the ball against the far post.
The Doctor was replaced at half-time by Bese (probably wise). Further substitutes would not be forthcoming, which was not a huge surprise given that there were only five players on the bench (none of the others bar reserve goalkeeper having played a league match before).
MTK carried the momentum from the end of the first half into a 60th minute equaliser. A free kick swung in from the right saw Thiam bullet the header past the previously unbeatable Balogh Janos. 1-1.
MTK continued to press for the fairytale (for me) winner, but it was not to come. Torghelle (who seems to be showing his age) bundled a ball onto the crossbar, but a point was all that would be taken back to Budapest.
What better way to end than in a craft beer pub called Gedeon?
So that is it…TimmyBacsi over and out (although there may be some specials in the coming months and years). In Hungary at least, as Lykke Li – that almost Dane – kindly asks “Oh I beg you, can I follow?”. Yes, Lykke. Yes, you can. TimmyBacsi goes Scandi. TimmyBacsi needs sharper aesthetics.