Újpest will contest their 17th Hungarian Cup final against debutant finalists Puskás Akadémia after both teams battled past plucky opponents in their semi-final second legs this week.
Újpest held a 2-1 advantage after a home success last week and preserved that lead with a goalless draw in Balmazújváros.
Although the visitors had more of the general play, the man of the match was still their goalkeeper Pajovic, who had made a colossal error in the 1-1 draw in the league but redeemed himself here with two tremendous saves in the first 45 minutes.
Hosts Balmazújváros were on the attack again early in the second half but were unable to fshion any more clear chances and instead it was nearly Újpest substitute Patrik Tischler who decided the tie, only for home-team goalkeeper Szécsi to save well. There were ten minutes left for Újpest to survive but they rode out the inevitable storm to secure their place in the final with a tenth Hungarian Cup title firmly on the horizon.
One day earlier, on Tuesday evening, Puskás Akadémia created history by reaching their first ever Hungarian Cup final with a 4-2 aggregate victory over Debrecen, that despite losing the second leg 2-0.
A four-goal thrashing of their rivals for a final spot last week at the Pancho Aréna had put Puskás Akadémia in a tremendous position and they managed to preserve enough of an advantage in the second leg.
Indeed, Attila Pintér’s team had threatened to extend their overall lead in the fifth minute in Debrecen but didn’t take the opportunity. The football club from Easter Hungary then went close ten minutes later and from that moment onwards it was an even contest for the next 20 or so minutes until Tibor Tisza handed Debrecen the lead from close range.
András Herczeg’s team doubled their lead through Tamás Takács’s 51st-minute header and dominated possession thereafter but couldn’t find more ways through, the visitors therefore securing an aggregate victory and a chance to win their first major honour in their short eleven-year history.
The 2018 Hungarian Cup final will take place in the Groupama Aréna in Budapest on 23rd May.
Hungarian Cup semi-final, 2nd legs:
Balmaz Kamilla Gyógyfürdő 0–0 Újpest FC
Yellow cards: BAL: Habovda (26.), Tamás L. (66.), ÚJP: Diallo (50.), Litauszki (81.)
Újpest FC progress 2-1 on aggregate.
Balmaz Kamilla Gyógyfürdő: Szécsi – Habovda, Rus, Tamás L., Uzoma – Vajda S., Sigér D., Maisuradze (Batarelo, 72.), Haris (Arabuli, 63.) – Andric, Kónya (Rudolf, 61.)
Újpest FC: Pajovic – Balázs B., Bojovic, Litauszki, Burekovic – Onovo, Nwobodo (Diallo, 46.) – Pauljevic, Nagy D. (Szűcs K., 57.), Sankovic – Novothny (Tischler, 63.)
Debreceni VSC 2-0 Puskás Akadémia FC (HT: 1-0)
Goalscorers: Tisza (38.), Takács T. (51.)
Puskás Akadémia progress 4-2 on aggregate.
Debreceni VSC: Kosicky – Filip (Bereczki, 83.), Szatmári, Mészáros N., Barna – Jovanovic, Tőzsér, Kusnyír (Sós B., 64.), Varga K. – Tisza (Mengolo, 72.), Takács T.
Puskás Akadémia FC: Hegedüs L. – Poór, Hegedűs J., Spandler, Trajkovski – Osváth, Madarász (Perosevic, a szünetben), Márkvárt, Balogh B. – Henty (U. Diallo, 82.), Radó (Szakály P., 58.)