Hungary prove their point in Estonia
A rollercoaster UEFA Nations League fixture in Tallin on Monday evening saw Hungary remind everyone of their determination to avoid a second defeat in a row by coming from behind twice before seizing a welcome League C Group 2 point with a 3-3 draw against hosts Estonia.
Hungary head coach Marco Rossi made four changes to the starting lineup which lost by a single goal in Greece on Friday, Botond Baráth coming in for his debut on the left side of a three-man defence while Dominik Nagy, István Kovács and Gergő Lovrencsics came in to strengthen a five-man midfield.
There was a very even, well-contested start to the match, the hosts' Vasilev having the first chance of the match in the 18th minute but his shot from the right channel 14 metres out was easily gathered by a well-positioned Péter Gulácsi in the Hungary goal. Estonia wouldn't be denied for long though, Siim Luts beating Tamás Kádár to Henri Anier's low, left-wing cross and dispatching the ball high past Gulácsi into the net to hand his side a 21st-minute lead.
An almost-immediate equaliser was forthcoming and it was superbly worked, László Kleinheisler finding Ádám Szalai in the centre of the pitch in the 26th minute and the Hoffenheim striker slipping the ball through to Dominik Nagy who had made a clever diagonal run from the right wing and found himself with a momentary sight of goal. The former Ferencváros starlet made no mistake with a sliding finish back across goal and low in to the far right corner of the net to ensure his team's deficit hadn't lasted long.
Parity remained the state of play until the 55th minute when a half-clearance from István Kovács' left-wing corner was headed back into the danger zone by Roland Sallai, the ball being controlled by Szalai on his chest before the tall forward juggled it once and swivelled before volleying last a hapless home goalkeeper.
Hungary looked relatively comfortable for the next quarter of an hour but they were pegged back courtesy of a piece of terrible luck, an Artur Pikk cross from the left being deflected high and over the back-pedalling Gulácsi by unfortunate substitute Máté Patkai. This own goal was followed by another instance of rank bad fortune in the 79th minute, Vassilev's long ball forward deflecting off the covering Kovács and conveniently into the path of Anier who had stolen in behind Kádár and who proceeded to slot the ball through Gulácsi's legs and into the gaping net.
Marco Rossi's charges always deserved something from this match though and they claimed a late point just a couple of minutes later when Szalai planted Kovács' right-wing, outswinging corner inside the near post to draw Hungary level at 3-3, a scoreline that was set as the final result without any further action of note.
Hungary now sit on four points, two behind Greece in second spot and eight points away from Finland who have 12 points having won all four of their fixtures thus far. The final two fixtures will both be in the Groupama Aréna in Budapest, versus Estonia on 11 November and group leaders Finland four days later.