Ten-man Hungary U21s tumble to Turkey loss
Despite the hosts leading at half-time, Hungary's 2019 Under-21 European Championship campaign came to a conclusion with a 2-1 home defeat against Turkey last week.
Michael Boris' squad had suffered a painful away loss in Malta a few days previous, but they still had 3rd place in the group within their grasp if they could overcome Turkey at home in their final fixture. This would be a tough task though, especially without key players Ákos Kecskés, Dániel Sallói and Dominik Szoboszlai who had been already been missing in Malta and Dániel Gazdag, Attila Haris and Gábor Makrai who had since been forced to withdraw from the squad through injury.
The two teams had drawn 0-0 in Istanbul last autumn but Turkey's results had improved since then. Nevertheless, it was Hungary who seized an early lead, Bence Bíró's tenth-minute header rebounding out to Máté Vida who slammed the ball into the Turkish net from six metres out.
Hungary continued to look dangerous after the goal and got in behind the opposing defence several times from both wings, only for the final pass or shot to be lacking in the requisite power or precision. Turkey came back into the game as half-time approached but the home team still led by that early goal at the break.
The first chance of the second-half fell to Újpest forward Donát Zsótér but his header was blocked and two subsequent shots from Bíró were well-saved by the visiting goalkeeper. There didn't seem to be much danger emanating from Turkey but 53th-minute handling error by home goalkeeper Patrik Demjén saw Deniz Hümmet's inocuous 25-metre shot squirm out of his hands and bobble behind the goal line for the equaliser. A few minutes later, Demjén did make partial amends with a superb save and his teammates also performed admirably in not letting that setback affect their mindsets.
Another blow would soon arrive though with a serious-looking injury to defender Csaba Spandler, who was stretchered off the pitch and replaced by Benedek Murka after 68 minutes. Turkey took full advantage of this abd some indecision in the hosts' defence by taking the lead in the 81st minute, Melih Okutan firing inside the near right post from the right channel 10 metres out after Hungary had failed to clear the ball from danger.
Boris' charges had chances to equalise in the remaining nine minutes plus added time but the goal which would have restored parity was not forthcoming and indeed, Donát Szivacski's second yellow card meant Hungary finished one man down. This all meant that Turkey claimed the three points and with them, 3rd place in the group too. Hungary finish 4th while Belgium progress to the European Championship tournament finals as group winners.
Michael Boris, Hungary U21 head coach: "In the first half we turned our plans into reality by defending well and playing in an organised fashion - despite having more of the ball, Turkey were unable to create chances. It wasn't obvious that they would turn the match around but they capitalised on our mistake abd from then on the pyschological advantage was with them, which they ised well to gain the three points. We had wanted to end the campaign on a high but luck wasn't with us, so we've lost a match here from which we deserved more. This is the end of age-limited football for those born in 1996 or 1997 and I hope that for a lot of them this won't be the last time they pull on the national-team jersey and soon the time will come when they are introduced to the full national-team setup".
Hungary 1-2 Turkey (HT: 1-0)
Hungary (surnames : Demjén Patrik - Szivacski Donát, Lenzsér Bence, Spandler Csaba (Murka Benedek, 68'), Barna Szabolcs (Kundrák Norbert, 84') - Varga Kevin (Hegedűs János, 92'), Vida Máté, Hinora Kristóf, Szalai Attila - Zsótér Donát - Bíró Bence