U21s lose final away Euro qualifier in Malta
Our Under-21 team slipped to a 2-1 defeat away against their Maltese counterparts in their penultimate European Championship qualifier on Friday, Attila Szalai's headed second-half equaliser superceded by an added-time winner for Malta following a swift counter-attack.
Several key players were missing for Michael Boris' team and it showed as they started sluggishly on an artificial surface in the Centarium stadium in Ta'Qali. Despite this, Hungary could have taken an early lead, only for Dániel Gazdag to fail to direct Atttila Szalai's left-wing cross away from the Maltese goalkeeper.
The hosts capitalised in the 12th minute as Guillamuier slid a free-kick into the left side of Balázs Bese's goal to take a 1-0 lead and Hungary were unable to find their game or respond before the half-time whistle.
Boris' men were much better in the second period though and Attila Szalai found an equaliser within three minutes, heading into the left side of the Maltese goal from five metres out after connecting with Dónát Zsótér's precise, left-wing cross.
Visiting goalkeeper Bese produced a tremendous save in the 56th minute to keep the scores level but his forwards couldn't match that form, spurning several decent chances to edge in front before injuries to Gábor Makrai and Gazdag upset the away side's momentum.
Still, it looked as if a point would be gained until Malta's Beerman had the last word, crashing a shot under Bese's crossbar and into the net from just inside the penalty area in second-half added time to ensure Hungary left the Mediterranean island empty-handed.
Boris' squad have a chance to redeem themselves on Tuesday this coming week as they take on Turkey at 18:30 in the Pancho Aréna needing to win to ensure a third-place finish in their U21 Euro qualifying group.
Malta 2-1 Hungary (HT: 1-0)
Hungary (surnames first): Bese Balázs - Katona Máté, Hegedűs János, Spandler Csaba, Szalai Attila - Haris Attila - Varga Kevin, Gazdag Dániel (Banó-Szabó Bence, 76.), Zsótér Donát, Kundrák Norbert (Makrai Gábor, 46., Szivacski Donát, 64.) - Bíró Bence.