Budapest Honvéd are crowned champions of Hungary
A second-half goal from the OTP Liga’s top goalscorer Márton Eppel helped Budapest Honvéd beat title rivals Videoton 1-0 and claim their first Hungarian league championship of the 21st century in front of a capacity crowd at the Bozsik Stadion yesterday.
On a dramatic evening in Kispest the quality of football was not the best the 8,000 fans presnet will have seen this season but it idn’t matter as a tight game deviod of many chances was settled by a close-range finish by Eppel on the hour mark.
Honvéd had lined up with six academy products in their starting eleven and possibly the league’s best striking partnership, Davide Lanzafarme and Eppel, upfront. Videoton meanwhile employed a 4-1-4-1 formation for Asmir Suljic on the left wing and Danko Lazovic on the right.
Despite the home team pressing hard and the visitors looking to counter at every opportunity, there was little in the way of goalmouth action until the 37th minute when Davide Lanzafame lofted a left-wing free-kick towards the back post where Dávid Bobál headed back across towards the left corner of the net, only for Videoton goalkeeper Ádám Kovácsik to somehow scoop the ball wide for a corner with his outretched right hand.
Perhaps understandably for a game with such high stakes tempers did flare at times, Davide Lanzafarme finding himself in the book late in the first period for a bad reaction to an ugly tackle by Danko Lazovic which earned the Vidi right midfielder a booking too. There was one more chance left in the opening half, Márk Koszta’s drive well-beaten out by Kovácsik.
It was evident both sides needed more incision in attack and Marco Rossi was the first coach to ttry and find it, young forward Donát Zsótér coming on for midfielder Dániel Gazdag. Whether or not this had an direct impact on the team’s next attack is a matter for debate but the underlying fact is that the hosts took the lead with their very next venture forward, Patrick Ikenne-King surging down the right flank and crossing low for Eppel to divert the ball into the net at the near post with his right foot for his 16th league goal of the season.
Videoton were stung by that bodyblow which now meant they needed to score at least twice to win the match and therefore the championship. A way back into the game constantly eluded them, nor did they really test Dávid Gróf in the Honvéd goal, despite Honvéd ceding plenty of space and dropping deep into their own defensive half as a matter of course. Five minutes of added time gave them some hope but their day was summed up when substitute Krisztián Géresi stabbed wide from a matter of metres out.
The final whistle soon blew on a season which sees Budapest Honvéd win their first Hungarian NB I league championship since 1993 and their 14th in total since the club was founded in 1909.