Vidi return from London with heads held high
Battling MOL Vidi gave a spirited display and only succumbed to a second-half winner from Chelsea's 60 million pound striker Alvaro Morata in their second Europa League group L fixture at Stamford Bridge on Thursday evening.
2013 UEFA Europa League winners Chelsea dominated much of the possession and the chances but it took the arrival of substitute Eden Hazard in the second half to spark the English Premier League club into life. Morata had earlier spurned a glorious opportunity to open the scoring when he miscued a chip over Vivi keeper Tomas Tujvel but he made amends in the 70th minute by running into space and sweeping home Willian's flick following a pass from Cesc Fabregas. The 25-year-old, who competed in the Puskás-Suzuki Cup in Felcsút when playing for Real Madrid Under 17s, had previously only scored once in nine matches this season.
Vidi had certainly made sure that their more illustrious opponents didn't have the match all their own way though, Roland Juhász's early header forcing a save from Chelsea custodian Kepa Arrizabalaga and Nego going close twice in the first half. The London club's 72% of possession told its own story but still Vidi pressed when they could, Arrizabalaga denying Nego again in the 46th minute and saving substitutue István Kovács's 83rd-minute drive after Atila Fiola's pass had given the Hungarian international forward a late sight of goal.
Vidi kept searching for an equaliser but they were also glad not to conced again in the 87th minute when Morata's shot from a tight angle failed to find the net. Despite the eventual 1-0 defeat, the Vidi fans - all 1,200 of them - applauded their players and enthuiastically sang the Hungarian national anthem in appreciation.
"I have mixed feelings becuase on one hand we played very well and on the other hand we gave our opponent too many chances, one of which they took", Vidi head coach Marko Nikolic commented after the match after which he said he can't be happy or sad that they lost only narrowly to Chelsea, supposedly one of the world's top ten club sides. He also put on record his thanks to the fans for their great support and that he was proud of his team but that they were lacking that little bit of quality which they would have needed to achieve an even better result. He said the team were on the right track and that even though they still had no points in the group, this result hadn't destroyed their chances of progression to the next stage.
Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri emphasised that: "for Alvaro Morata, it's very important to score and very important to play well too for the team, like he did in this match. I don't think we played well, we have done a good offensive phase and had a lot of ball opportunities but we conceded too much. IT was a good match against a good opponent which was always dangerous on the counter-attack. We have to play every three days, it is very difficult and so we have to have a great mentality. There is a risk to arrive at a match without the mental power and energy. I am very happy with my squad. It is a very important in this period of the season to get results".
UEFA Europa League, Group L, 2nd matchday:
Chelsea (ENG) 1–0 Vidi FC (HUN) (HT: 0–0)
Stamford Bridge, 39,925 spectators, ref.: Zelinka (CZE)
Goalscorer: Morata (70.)
Yellow cards: VID: Nego (14.), Huszti (44.), Milanov (56.)
Chelsea: Arrizabalaga - Zappacosta, Cahill, Christensen, Emerson - Kovacic, Fabregas, Loftus-Cheek (Barkley, 66.) - Pedro (Hazard, 54.), Morata, Willian (Moses, 74.)
Vidi FC: Tujvel - Fiola, Juhász R., Vinícius, Stopira - Nego, Hadzic (Pátkai, 83.), Nikolov - Huszti (Kovács I., 77.), Milanov (Hodzic, 83.) - M. Scepovic
In the group's other match, PAOK defeated BATE 4-1 away from home, meaning that Chelsea top the group with six points with PAOK and BATE both on three points behind the English club while Vidi remain bottom on zero points.
MOL Vidi FC's remaining Europa League group-stage fixtures:
Thursday 25th October: PAOK – MOL Vidi FC, 21:00
Thursday 8th November: MOL Vidi FC – PAOK, 18:55
Thursday 29th November: BATE – MOL Vidi FC, 18:55
Thursday 13th December: MOL Vidi FC – Chelsea, 18:55