Hungary and Italy will go into next Tuesday's UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-off second leg with honours even after a 1-1 draw in Budapest. Italy opened the scoring early in the second half when Hungary goalkeeper Márton Fülöp let Marco Donadel's low drive squirm through his grasp but a similar strike from Szabolcs Huszti 18 minutes from time ensured both teams have everything to play for in Italy in four days time.
An innovative free-ticket policy meant the Üllõi úti stadium was full to its 18,000 capacity but a raucous crowd had little to savour in a tentative opening period. Although the home side dominated possession it was Italy who threatened more, Simon Pepe forcing Fülöp into a sprawling save followed seconds later by an acrobatic overhead kick from Daniele Galloppa which Fülöp also foiled. Hungary's Kriztian Vadosz then went close at the other end but his long-range drive was deflected behind.
However the game burst into life after the break and Italy took the lead just before the hour mark. There looked to be no danger when Donadel took possession of the ball 25 metres from goal but his low near-post drive caught out Fülöp and the ball trickled into the net. Hungary though were not deterred by this setback and were back on level terms in the 72nd minute when Huszti, who normally plays for the full national side, fired low past Italy goalkeeper Gianluca Curci to spark wild celebrations.
Although the home tried to capitalise on this momentum a resolute Italian rearguard held firm and indeed Giampaolo Pazzini could have won it for the visitors but he blazed a volley over the crossbar when well-positioned seven minutes from time.