Hungary’s Under 21 team are third in their European Championship qualifying group after an away loss in Portugal and a home draw against an impressive Albania in the last week.
Portugal are traditionally very strong at this level and their team containing several players with UEFA Champions League experience were too much for Robert Kilin’s side in Penafiel, despite a spirited performance from the visitors who had several key players missing due to their presence in the full national-team squad. Portugal captain Bruno Fernandes opening the scoring in the 35th minute with a low shot from 22 metres and Hungary goalkeeper Gergely Nagy kept the scoreline at 1-0 going into the break with a superb save from Bruno’s 18-metre shot in the penultimate minute of the half. Roland Sallai came on for Dávid Forgács at the interval and brighten prospects for Hungary who suddenly started to play more in the opponent’s half, but Portugal still managed to stretch their lead with their first attack of the second period, the ball eventually ending up at Gonçalo Paciência’s feet after a neat passing move in the 56th minute for him to slip the ball into an empty net. Neither team threatened much thereafter so it was Portugal who emerged vitorious with a two-goal win.
Back on home turf four days later, Hungary took on an Albania side full of young players from some of Europe’s top clubs and it was the visitors who took the lead in the 24th minute when Rei Manaj arrived at the far right side of the goal and crashed a volley past Gergely Nagy and into the far left corner of the net from Endri Çekiçi’s cross. The hosts were soon back on terms though when Dániel Prosser curled a beautiful left-footed shot high into the left side of the Albania goal from the edge of the penalty area just four minutes later. Lindon Latifi restored Albania’s lead just before half-time with a close-range finish from a low right-wing cross but Prosser again came to Hungary’s rescue, this time with an unstoppable 63rd-minute equaliser from 11 metres out. Neither side gave up hope of a winner but in the end the spoils were shared.
These results leave Hungary on four points from three games in the group, their only win so far coming in a 6-0 away thrashing of Leichtenstein last month. Their next matches come next month away in Israel and at home against Greece.