MOL Vidi FC switch their attention back to the Europa League as they take on Premiership side Chelsea in Budapest in the final group match.
Vidi have already played five matches in the group. It has been a very tight group all along with only Chelsea being able to secure a place in the knockout stage so far. The London club have won each of their five games so far to sit top of Group L with 15 points. Vidi are in third place with 6 points thanks to their two wins against Greek side PAOK. That is one place behind BATE with PAOK on 3 points and currently bottom, although even they still have a chance of making it through the group.
Marko Nikolic: We will all give our maximum
The Vidi head coach met the media on Wednesday afternoon.
“It will be a big game for us tomorrow. Back in September nobody thought that this game would have any importance going into the final match.
We have represented Hungarian football well in Europe. Just like BATE, we have 6 points and now come up against the most difficult opponents, Chelsea FC.
My players have shown previously that they can come up with wonders and now they have the chance to do the same against the Londoners. I feel that a point on Thursday would be something great. I am sure that the players will go out onto the pitch with special motivation tomorrow. It will also be a full house. There so called ‘B’ team would be champions in several leagues around the world. If they do not bring Hazard or Pedro or even Kante, then Fabregas would play. If Giroud does not play, they have Morata and so on.
I cannot guarantee the result but I have no doubt that we will all give our maximum against Chelsea” – explained Marko Nikolic.
We go through Vidi’s story so far below, which include the reaction of manager Marko Nikolic after each game.
Match 1: Vidi FC – BATE Borisov 0-2 (Tuominen 27, Filipenko 85)
They opened up with a defeat at home to BATE in September at the Groupama Arena in Budapest. Vidi will feel that they deserved more from that game after a battling performance. The game on the 20th September was played in front of almost 15,000 supporters. However, goals from Tuominen 27 and Filipenko 85 gave three points for the team from Belarus.
Istvan Kovács gets in just ahead of his BATE opponent in the first group match in Budapest.
Manager Marko Nikolic commented on the game in his post match interview: “I cannot say anything bad about our performance with the exception of the last 5 minutes. Our attitude was correct and perhaps BATE were more experienced and they converted their chances while we did not.”
Meanwhile Chelsea travelled to Greece and won 1-0 against PAOK in the other group match later that night. It wasn’t the start to the group stage that Vidi wanted but with five games left to play, the most important is to make sure that there is still everything to play for in the final group stage match in December.
Loic Nego on the ball in the match at Stamford Bridge earlier this month
Match 2: Chelsea FC – Vidi FC 1-0 (Morata 69)
Vidi produced an even better display in early October at Stamford Bridge in London. Chelsea went into the game having not been beaten in the Premier League. They also fielded a very strong side in front of a big 40,000 crowd in West London. Marko Nikolic will look back on the chances that Nego and later Kovács had but he would be very proud of the performance put in that evening by the Hungarian Champions.
A Morata goal after 70 minutes gave the London side a slender win and three points to go top of the group. Meanwhile Vidi travelled back home to Hungary with their heads held high and received plenty of respect from football lovers both in Hungary and beyond.
The British media were also full of praise for MOL Vidi and the way they played. The back pages of the newspapers wrote about the very good performance from the team from Székesfehérvár, who were backed by close to 1000 travelling supporters, who had filled one corner of the famous West London stadium.
It was left to a very proud manager to face the press at Stamford Bridge shortly after the final whistle. Manager Marko Nikolic commented after the game that: ” We came here to play in a sharp game even if we respect Chelsea. I also said that the home team are currently in the top 10 in the World and I stick to that. We came here to cause a reaction for everyone and we managed it but nothing more.”
The first two games did not bring any points but things suddenly changed from the third game of the group stage in Group L. Read more HERE.
Match 3: PAOK – Vidi FC 0-2 (Huszti, Stopira)
Next up in match 3 was a visit to Greece and the home of PAOK. Vidi knew that they would have to pick up points to remain with a chance of going through. With Chelsea breaking away at the top of the group with 6 points and both BATE and PAOK with 3 on the board, it was vital to get something out of the game and pick up the first group points. That is exactly what they did with first half goals from Huszti and Stopira earning the Hungarian side a 2-0 win. It means that Chelsea’s win over BATE in the other group game resulted in Chelsea being top on 9 points. PAOK remain in second on 3 points with Vidi climbing up to third and also with 3 on the board. BATE currently lie in bottom place with the same 3 points. It promises to be a great atmosphere in Budapest on Thursday with a sell-out crowd expected, which includes over a thousand travelling over from Greece.
Stopira rose to head home Vidi’s second goal in the 2-0 away win in Thessoliniki.
Marko Nikolic was again a very proud man as he walked into the post-match press conference in Greece. It had been a tactically perfect match and he was keen to highlight this to the gathered media. “Vidi played a tactically perfect game and we were disciplined and were true fighters. PAOK did not have a 100% chance on our goal during the game. We played in similar games like this over the summer in the four qualification games.”
Match 4: Vidi – PAOK 1-0 (Milanov)
Next up was the return game with PAOK in Budapest and Vidi did not disappoint as they collected another crucial three points. A packed Groupama Arena was the setting in a battling performance that Marko Nikolic’ side are renowned for. A solid defensive performance did not allow the Greek side to threaten them. The tactics were once again perfect and a header from Milanov, following a smart move was enough to earn the win. Paulo Vinicius did well to bring the ball forward and it was his cross from the left that found the head of the Bulgarian to give the keeper no chances and lift Vidi to second in the group.
A fine headed goal from Georgi Milanov secured three precious points against PAOK in Budapest.
Chelsea continued their 100% win rate as they defeated BATE away in the other group match of the evening. That means that the London side lead the group ahead of Vidi, with PAOK in third and BATE in fourth. Thursday’s match in Borisov is vital with PAOK playing Chelsea in London. Three points for Vidi would secure them a place in the competition in February, which would be the first time a Hungarian side have gone this far.
Manager Marko Nikolic was again present after the 1-0 win over PAOK to face the media.
He commented that “We worthily represented the club and Hungarian football in Europe. I have said several times both before this series of games and since that we are not here for decoration. We want to pick up results and have been preparing professionally for the game.” They certainly did that with a fine solid performance that has earn respect around Europe.
Match 5: BATE Borisov – Vidi FC 2-0 (Signevic 23, Ivanic 85)
In extremely very cold conditions in Belarus, it was the home side that scored both goals on the night to gain 3 points and move ahead of Vidi into second place in the group. Chelsea defeated PAOK in the other match to secure ending top of Group L. Vidi put up a battling and fighting performance, but returned back to Hungary with empty hands. Signevic headed into the back of the net following a cross from the left in the first half. Ivanic then made sure of the points with a low shot close towards the end of the game. Marko Nikolic spoke to the media following the game in Borisov:
“I cannot say that we played badly, but we made some bad decisions and did not pick up a point. I still believe that we have a chance to go through despite this. This group will be decided in the last minute. We know that we will need some mathematics to work out who will go through with the English team.”
Milanov races through a packed BATE defence in Belarus but it was the home side that kept all 3 points. Read more HERE.
There is still one final group match to play following this one. That will be in Budapest on Thursday 13th December against Chelsea. PAOK take on BATE in Greece in the evening’s other game. Vidi need to get more points than BATE to secure second place. The Groupama Arena is expected to be full on what will hopefully be another memorable evening of European football.