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Season review: Hungary

Published: Friday 13 June 2014, 8.02CET
Péter Szakály embodied the collective spirit that won Debreceni VSC another title, Újpest FC ended their trophy drought and Diósgyõri VTK raised a few eyebrows.

by Matthew Watson-Broughton
from Budapest
Season review: Hungary
Debrecen celebrate a goal during their title-winning campaign ©www.mlsz.hu
Published: Friday 13 June 2014, 8.02CET

Season review: Hungary

Péter Szakály embodied the collective spirit that won Debreceni VSC another title, Újpest FC ended their trophy drought and Diósgyõri VTK raised a few eyebrows.

Debreceni VSC showed a level of stamina their rivals could not match to snatch the Hungarian First League title from the grasp of 2012/13 champions Győri ETO FC, while Újpest FC upset the odds in the Hungarian Cup final.

Champions: Debreceni VSC
Consistency earned Debrecen their seventh Hungarian championship in ten years. Early-season challengers Videoton FC and Ferencvárosi TC fell by the wayside, leaving Győr as Loki's main rivals. Győr won ten of their last 11 games, but their only dropped points in that run – a 2-2 draw at Debrecen – proved crucial for Elemér Kondás's team, who clinched the title on goal difference despite top scorer Ibrahima Sidibe having found the net just ten times. Already effectively champions given their huge goal-difference advantage, Debrecen claimed the crown after losing 2-0 at home to Budapest Honvéd FC on the last day of term, Kondás concluding: "Though we are disappointed that we made it after losing, it wasn't this match but the whole season that won us the title."

©AFP

Újpest with their first trophy in 12 years

Cup final: Újpest FC 1-1 Diósgyőri VTK (aet, Újpest won 4-3 on pens)
Újpest took an early lead when Róbert Litauszki converted Balázs Balogh's inswinging free-kick, but Patrik Bacsa rescued Diósgyőr in second-half added time with another close-range finish. The two sides could not be separated during extra time so penalties were required. Diósgyőr's William Alves and Senad Husić both struck the bar, meaning Újpest picked up a ninth Magyar Kupa. "Our supporters really deserve this, since Újpest haven't won any silverware for 12 years," Litauszki said. "For the past six months, our coach has been telling us we would win the cup, and we have done."

European places*
Debreceni VSC – UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
Győri ETO FC – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
Ferencvárosi TC – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
Diósgyőri VTK – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round

* Subject to final confirmation by UEFA

Player of the year: Péter Szakály (Debreceni VSC)
Without representation among the Hungarian First League's top six goalscorers, it is clear that Debrecen's championship was a real team effort. Nobody embodied that all-for-one spirit more than 27-year-old Hungary midfielder Szakály, whose experience – he has made more than 200 appearances for Debrecen – pace and vision, not to mention seven league strikes, were vital.

©Gábor Baricsa

Rising star András Radó (left)

One to watch: András Radó (Szombathelyi Haladás)
The 20-year-old forward started all but one of his side's top-flight matches in only his third season in the elite division. He was a key figure throughout, not just because of his 14 goals, but for his willingness to stretch defences with incisive runs and attack the penalty area at any opportunity. The Under-21 cap is already being courted by Hungary's biggest teams and is set for a bright future at club and international levels.

Surprise package: Diósgyőri VTK
The side from the city of Miskolcs, 220km east of Budapest, did better than expected by finishing fifth, their highest league placing in 35 years. They also lifted the Liga Kupa, with a 2-1 victory against Videoton, and narrowly missed out in the Hungarian Cup final. Újpest's unsuccessful application for a licence means DVTK could play in Europe for the first time since 1998.

Leading scorer: Attila Simon, Paksi SE (18)

Relegated: Mezőkövesdi-Zsóry SE, Kaposvári Rákóczi FC

Promoted: Nyíregyháza Spartacus FC, Dunaújváros PASE

Number: 12
Years since Újpest, one of Hungary's most decorated clubs, had won a trophy before this season's cup triumph.

Quote: "These last six months the players have worked with real honour – you could see that in their performances. I believed in them in the club's 2,000th league match [the 5-0 home victory over Mezőkövesd in our final game of the season] when we could have secured first place for the spring season at least. It was with a calm heart that I stood in the dugout – in the end we had too much to do [for the title] but I am very satisfied with everyone. We now have no other aim than to improve by one place in the table."
Ferenc Horváth, who replaced Attila Pintér as Győr coach earlier in the campaign, oversaw an upsurge in form which meant his team only lost their title to Debrecen on goal difference

Last updated: 13/06/14 12.01CET

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