Two goals and two assists from SV Werder Bremen's Krisztián Lisztes ensured Hungary took maximum points from their two latest UEFA EURO 2004™ qualification rounds, providing further hope that they can push for a place at the finals in Portugal.
Imre Gellei's side followed up their 3-1 defeat of Latvia with a 5-0 away success against San Marino to stay level on points with Sweden at the top of the Group 4 rankings. The margin of victory somewhat flattered the Hungarians as the home side gave their most spirited performance in the qualifying round to date, but were left to regret several wasted chances including a missed penalty from Andy Selva in the 75th minute.
Hungary took the game to their hosts from the start and were quickly rewarded when Zoltán Böör ran through the San Marino defence in the fifth minute before unleashing a left-footed shot high into the net from just inside the penalty area.
However, if the Magyars had expected the Sammarinese to be an easy touch, Brian Gasperoni gave them something to consider when his low cross ran across the face of the goal past two attackers, both of whom failed to get the slightest of touches that could have deviated the ball past Zoltán Vegh in the visitors' goal.
However, the Hungarians showed their class in the 21st minute when Lisztes' free-kick rose over the wall and into the back of the net from 20 metres. Back came San Marino, and they threatened when Selva delivered a centimetre-perfect cross to the feet of Marco De Luigi, who conspired to miss the ball from close range with the goal at his mercy.
Hungary upped the tempo during the second half and rattled off three further goals. First, Zalaegerszegi TE's prolific striker Krisztián Kenesei tapped in on the hour mark after Lisztes beat the offside trap before knocking the ball into the path of his team-mate as Federico Gasperoni advanced from his goal.
Lisztes was again the provider when he crossed the ball for Szabics to head the fourth in the 77th minute. Four minutes later, the visitors completed the rout with their best goal of the game as Lisztes's delicate lob from inside the box left Gasperoni stranded.
Hungary coach Imre Gellei said: "San Marino played a tough game - pluck is their main strength and they caused us some concern. But in the end we scored five, so I am satisfied." While Gellei's opposite number, Giampaolo Mazza, insisted: "We certainly deserved to score. Compared to the other qualifying games, we played far better and with more courage."