Superb Hungary bring home three points from Croatia
Two goals from Fanni Vágó and one from Zsanett Jakabfi capped a excellent team performance as Hungary Women beat Croatia 3-1 in Zadar on Monday.
This was the second of Hungary's FIFA Women's World Cup fixtures in this month of April, having already fallen 4-1 to highly-ranked Sweden in a tremendous battle in Szombathely.
Four days later and Edina Markó's team were in the Croatian city of Zadar and preparing to take on the host country with whom they had drawn 2-2 back at home last autumn.
This time, Hungary were at the top of their game from the stop and barely gave their hosts a chance, while creating plenty of their own. Vágó was first to threaten but her close-range effort found the goalkeeper's hands. Jakabfi was then denied by a combination of the goalkeeper and the woodwork and Fenyvesi's shot from the resulting corner was blocked by covering defenders.
Hungary were nearly punished before half-time when Joscak gained possession and found space for a shot which rattled the left post with goalkeeper Szőcs beaten. Instead though it was Markó's charges who got their reward before half-time for a promising performance thus far, Vágó converting Jakabfi's left-wing cross into the top-right corner of the net to hand her side a 1-0 lead at the halfway stage.
Hungary took this renewed momentum into the second period and continued to dominate, Jakabfi only being denied by the offside flag and the almost inevitable second goal coming in the 72nd minute when Vágó turned provider with a perfect cross from the right wing which Jakabfi dispatched into an empty net.
Six minutes from time, Hungary were celebrating their third goal of the match when aggressive pressing in the Crotia half yielded possession and eventually provided Vágó with the chance to slot the ball past a helpless goalkeeper into the near corner of the net from close in.
Added time brought the disappointment of a Croatia goal from Sandra Žigić in the 94th minute but overall Hungary can be very satisfied with their performance and the three hard-earned World Cup qualifying points.
Edina Markó, Hungary head coach:
"We were successful in reaching a great result against a very good opponent. At the start we found it a little difficult to find our rhythm and there were a few dangerouns moments in front of our goal but from midway through the second half we took control of the match and did what we wanted to do on the pitch. I'm happy that our gradually improved performances are slowly being paired with results too; the girls played superb football for 85 minutes against Sweden and this success against Croatia speaks for itself. We needed this in order to continue with renewed belief".
Croatia 1-3 Hungary (HT: 0–1)
Goals: Vágó (43., 84.), Jakabfi (72.)
Hungary (surnames first): Szőcs Réka (Samu Anna, 89.) – Tóth Alexandra (Papp Dóra, 14.), Turányi Lilla, Szeitl Szilvia, Szabó Viktória – Csiszár Henrietta, Rácz Zsófia, Fenyvesi Evelin – Jakabfi Zsanett, Vágó Fanni, Zágor Bernadett (Kaján Zsanett, 78.)
Hungary, who now lie fourth in the group, will next face a strong Denmark side away from home on 12th June.