A plague on both your defences (Vasas FC vs. Vác)

Last year I found myself holding two human skulls. The people they were formerly attached to had died from the plague, and I had to identify who was who in order to save another life. I worked quickly; measuring jawbones, assessing facial features and trying not to think about the incessant tick of the clock. I was running out of time…

These skulls came from the town of Vác; today’s opponents. In 1740 there was a plague epidemic which wiped out a large swath of the town’s population. Fast forward to 2018, and the Hungarian Natural History museum decided it would be a tasteful idea to use the remains of some of said victims in an escape room, and an unsuspecting me is now in a small room filled with antiquey-looking coffins.

The escape room is a wonderful Hungarian innovation – a real life Crystal Maze crossed with Cluedo. You have one hour to solve puzzles in order to get out of the chamber. Usually these include locks, games of skill, and logic tasks. This one has bravely dispensed with such workaday gimmicks, and instead filled a room with plague bones.

This convoluted intro explains how I know my one Vác fact: there was a plague there. Well that and that they lie 12th in the table and have lost their last two. Easy pickings for Vasas?

The away end. Bouncing.

I usually go into detail on these reports, but today I’m going to have to summarise just a wee bit because these two decided to score 11 (eleven) goals between them, including 8 in the second half. It was glorious carnage and for once Vasas’s shoddy defending didn’t matter a jot.

The home team start with some great attacking football – it’s one touch stuff reminiscent of how they played before the international break. But they just can’t find the breakthrough, and as so often happens they’re hit on the break and go behind 0-1 after 20 minutes. A poor parry by Bese leaving an open goal for Murai.

Vasas equalize after a great Szatmari run and neat finish by the ever-industrious Birtalan, but are behind again after a strike late in the half by Kakonyi.

Half time: Vasas 1-2 Vác. So far so Vasas.

Then things go insane. A penalty award in the first minute of the second half sees Balajti increase his ridiculous lead at the top of the top scorer charts (goal number 20 of the season), before youngster Kovács – a player growing in confidence by the game – strokes one home to put Vasas ahead 3-2 a minute later.

Balajti continues his form by slamming in a fourth on the hour mark; some beautiful deft passing in midfield, a cutting through-ball is pulled back to the cockiest man in NBii, who thwacks it in off the bar. 4-2.

There’s no stopping for breath yet. Vác pull one back through a bending Kokonyi shot from the edge of the box to make home hearts beat a little faster. It’s 4-3 and could go either way.

Botond Király is having none of that though. The winger jinks into the box after a neat one-two with Szatmari and is brought down for another penalty. Up steps Balajti, the coolest penalty taker since Yakubu, to stroke it home. The keeper hasn’t bothered diving for either of these penalties. He knows a lost cause when he sees one.

A scant one-minute piss-break later and it’s 6-3. Balajti turns provider and Birtalan passes it past the hapless away keeper, who by now looks one bad backpass away from an aneurism.

Another Vác consolation from Toth narrows the gap to 6-4, but Balajti is not about to let anyone steal HIS thunder thank you very much. He sprints onto a slide-rule pass from young prospect Rétyi and passes it past the keeper at the near post. I’m not sure who this goalie is, but he’s definitely sitting at the back of the bus on the way home. It finishes 7-4, beating Middlesbrough’s 8-1 thumping of Sven Goran Eriksson’s Man City as the most goals I’ve ever seen in a professional football match.

Vasas 7 (seven) – 4 Vác (Birtalan 2, Balajti 4, Kovács)

So a dazzling attacking display pulls focus away from more inept defending and Vasas climb up to 4th in the table. After resigning myself to another season in NBii it seems a promotion push might *just* be still on…

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