Hungary 0 - 0 Republic of IrelandMon, Jun 04 2012
On a rain soaked night in Budapest, Ireland left their fans with much to ponder following a disappointing 0-0 draw with Hungary.
With the first game of the Euros just around the corner, the Republic of Ireland were hoping to produce a positive display ahead of their opening game against Croatia. But the problems in the side were all too obvious, as poor passing and bad defending were the biggest worries for Giovanni Trapattoni.
Chances were few and far between for Ireland, and Hungary were unlucky not to come away with the win in the dying moments when Krisztian Nemeth fired straight at Keiren Westwood after being found with a superb pass by Imre Szabics.
Admittedly the omens weren’t great for Ireland at the start of the night, as the kick-off was delayed by twenty minutes due to adverse weather conditions.
Torrential rain, thunder and lightning beset the Ferenc Puskas Stadium, and the Irish players were left standing in the tunnel while their opponents were let back into their dressing room.
The scene was reminiscent of Paris last February, and for a while it looked as though the game could be called off. Luckily, the conditions did improve, the Hungarian players re-emerged into the tunnel and the teams took to the semi-flooded pitch.
The opening exchanges were quite scrappy as the players got to grips with the greasy surface. Ireland did manage to enjoy some good possession however, and after just six minutes Damien Duff sent a dangerous cross into the box and John O’Shea glanced a good header over the bar.
Kevin Doyle was a constant threat in the air and it was his flick-on from Shay Given’s kick out that set Robbie Keane through on goal, but the Irish skipper fired straight at Adam Bogdan.
But the early Irish pressure proved to do nothing but stimulate the Hungarians, as their captain Balazs Dzudzsak fired three good shots from distance that were well saved by Shay Given.
Dzudzsak, along with striker Adam Szalai, were pulling the strings for the hosts, and it was Szalai who spurned the best chance of the half after hesitating in the box and allowing Stephen Ward to slide in with a crucial tackle.
The second half began similarly, and Szalai wasted another good chance early on after good work from Dzudzsak. As both managers began to ring the changes, the game began to turn in Ireland’s favour, with Stephen Hunt and Jonathan Walters looking dangerous.
The latter had two good chances saved by Bogdan, before a break involving Aiden McGeady and Simon Cox resulted in Cox firing straight at the keeper.
However, Ireland’s best chance came in the last ten minutes.
Hunt gathered the ball wide on the right wing, and sent a great cross right on to the head of Walters. But the Stoke man steered his header wide of the target with the goal at his mercy.
Soon after, Hunt was the hero at the other end of the pitch when ball fell invitingly to Imre Szabics on the edge of the box following a Jungaty corner. He shot low into the bottom corner, beating Keiren Westwood but Hunt was well positioned to hack the ball off the line.
There were a handful of half chances at both ends before Nemeth wasted his chance to win it with the last kick of the game.
Hungary: Adam Bogdan; Norbert Meszaros, Zsolt Korcsmar, Adam Gyursco (Tamas Koltai, 87), Josef Varga; Peter Szakaly (Imre Szabics, 63), Adam Pinter (Vilmos Vanczak, h/t), Vladimir Koman, Peter Hamosi (Tamas Kadar, 70), Balazs Dzudzsak; Adam Szalai (Krisztian Nemeth, 79)
Booked: Zsolt Korcsmar
Republic of Ireland: Shay Given (Kieren Westwood, h/t); Richard Dunne, John O’Shea, Sean St Ledger, Stephen Ward; Aiden McGeady, Damien Duff (Stephen Hunt, 63), Keith Andrews (Darron Gibson, 66), Glenn Whelan (Paul Green, 83); Robbie Keane (Simon Cox, 61), Kevin Doyle (Jonathan Walters, h/t)
Booked: Stephen Ward
Referee: Kenn Hanson (Denmark)
Extratime Man of the Match: Balazs Dzudzsak