Birthday Bumps (Vasas FC vs. Dorogi FC)

The stop-start nature of Vasas’ season continues since my last blog entry.  A couple of wins, a couple of draws and a continuing tendency to throw games away means Vasas remain stuck in sixth place in the NBii. They’re also more than a clear win behind Zalaegerszeg and Gyor in the two promotion places.

After a quiet period, there’s some info on the new Vasas stadium in the first programme of the season. It seems that the first game in the newly-build ground will be in March, and hopefully against Colo Colo, a Chilean club whom Vasas played in the 60s as part of an invitational tournament. Seeing a little South American flair under the lights at Angyalföld would be a nice way to kick off at the club’s new home.

This game is also the first that I’m attending with a Hungarian translator. Eva and her husband Benny join myself and my regular matchday partner (and football commentary cliché machine) Mike, all of whom can be seen here.

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Eva is especially helpful in translating the many “fan rants” we hear from the home supporters.

The true fan rant is a special thing, sparked usually by a mistake from the supporter’s own side rather than a refereeing decision, one can be forgiven for thinking it’ll just be a short burst of invective. One would be wrong.

It starts with the time-honoured expression of outrage at the offending player (a local lad done well or creative midfielder for preference – see Downing, Stewart) before gathering a momentum of its own as the ranter works themselves into a frenzy of pent-up bitterness, encompassing historical slights, impotent jealousy and personal grudges. A good one can go on for a few minutes before petering out in hoarse, throatiness, usually followed by a bathos-laden epilogue of the “what’s the fucking use?” variety. Bonus points if the rant continues well into the next passage of play. Thanks to the gentleman a few rows behind us and Eva’s translation I now know a lot more about Hungarian swearing than before.

I decide to get into the spirit of things with the traditional pumpkin seeds. The scene in the picture below is a ubiquitous one at Hungarian football games and the constant cracking of seeds was described by Benny as “like being surrounded by squirrels”. It’s no meat pie and Bovril but provides a satisfying underfoot crunch.

On the football side, Vasas are without Adam Martin who is injured and/or suspended (birthday boy Lóránd Szatmári comes in as cover). Forward Ádám Balajti continues to have a blinder of a season, with his 9 goals putting him firmly atop the scorers’ table.

The first half is all Vasas. They play neat one-twos, dominate possession and break in numbers. Opponents Dorogi look hapless – by far the worst team I’ve seen so far in the NBii. They’re chasing shadows as the impressive journeyman Botond Birtalan pulls the strings in the Vasas midfield.

Chances are few however, so it’s a relief when Szatmári pulls the trigger from 25 yards, slamming the ball off the crossbar and in, possibly off the back of the beaten Dorogi keeper. Happy birthday indeed Lóránd. With Martin, Balajti, Hinora and now Szatmári scoring long-range stunners this season we’ve been a little spoilt for goals, but as is becoming depressingly common, Vasas can’t add to their early lead and go into the break with just a goal advantage.

I have no idea what happens in the home dressing room at half-time, but I assume it involves plenty of goulash and palinka from manager Kis’ personal supply. Vasas have a worrying tendency to come out for the second half like a Sunday League side after a heavy night on the town. Dorogi come back into the game, growing in confidence and even venturing a few shots on target. They seem to realise that Vasas are happy with one goal and decide to go for it.

On the 69th minute the dam breaks. Bese – the 19 year old keeper I’ve just been talking up to Eva and Benny as one to watch – spills a regulation shot into the path of Dorogi striker Lenarth who gratefully taps in the rebound. It’s an honest to goodness howler, aided by the bog of a six yard box at the Szusza Ferenc Stadium.

Last time Bese gifted the opposition a goal he responded with some stunning displays, and in truth he’s been solid up this point today, but he looked pretty disgusted at himself to have let that one through. Still, he’s young and playing behind a defence that’s lacking solidity – there’ll be better days ahead.

The game looks to be drifting towards 1-1 until the last minute when Vasas get a corner in front of the away fans. The perfectly-flighted cross is slammed against the bar by centre back Vaskó. Another corner a minute later receives the same treatment from David Kelemen and the final whistle blows. Once again Vasas are left to rue soft goals conceded and chances missed.

So, a point gained, an unbeaten record intact and place higher in the table, but still no sign of a sustained promotion charge by Karoly Kis’ men. Dorogi shouldn’t have come out of this game with anything and the fact that they did says a lot about Vasas’ ability to kill teams off. A familiar tale then, but they’re still in the pack.

Vasas FC 1-1 Dorogi FC (Szatmári. Attendance 600)

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Notes on other teams I’ve followed:

Tokyo Verdy’s blistering run is at an end in the J2 League. 2 draws, a win and a loss in the last four sees them slip to 6th, but they’re still only 6 points from top and there are still 6 games left.

Middlesbrough: Slip to 4th after a home defeat to Nottingham Forest. They would have gone top of the league with a win so the Championship is tight as ever.

In Bahrain, Al Shabbab’s promising start was brought to a screeching halt by Al Riffa, who tonked them 4-0. Not a good week all told.

Hungarian football words learned: many, all unprintable (thanks Eva).

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