Hungary take on struggling Turkey on Tuesday eager to bounce back from the disappointment of conceding a last-gasp equaliser in Budapest on Friday, but wary of a team with "nothing to lose".
With a national record television audience of 2.8 million glued to their screens, Sándor Egervári's side were almost in touching distance of FIFA World Cup Group D pacesetters the Netherlands as they entered added time leading Romania 2-1. Substitute Alexandru Chipciu's 92nd-minute strike gave the night a gloomier complexion, however; claiming all three points in Istanbul is now a must, says goalkeeper Gábor Király.
"Turkey have nothing to lose now," he said of rivals trailing second-placed Hungary by four points. "This is the last chance for them to stay in with a chance of qualification, via second place and the play-offs. We must be patient and we must be ruthless with our chances. However disappointing that equaliser was on Friday, the aim is still to remain in second spot."
Midfielder Tamás Hajnal went further, saying that in the cold light of day Hungary can take a lot from the way they bossed Romania for much of their encounter. Turning his attention to the next test, he added: "Why shouldn't we win in Turkey? If we play as we have been, there is no reason why what we lost in the draw with Romania, we cannot regain with a win in Turkey."
If they do, and the Netherlands beat Romania elsewhere on Tuesday, then Hungary will head into the summer three points clear of Romania in second position with four games left; Turkey, beaten 3-1 in Budapest in October, would be seven adrift and seemingly out of the running. Coach Egervári is keen for his players to look ahead to great feats, like World Cup qualification, not back at past disappointments.
"Unfortunately we weren't able to withstand the pressure from Romania, we could not keep the ball when we needed to," said the 62-year-old. "We are not going to be mournful because the competition continues and we must be brave if we are to realise our dreams."