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Hungary celebrate futsal 'fairy-tale'

"Over many years we have suffered bad luck but tonight made up for all that," said Zoltán Dróth after his goal in the final second gave Hungary a "fairy-tale" play-off win.

Hungary left it late for an extraordinary win
Hungary left it late for an extraordinary win ©MLSZ

Even by futsal standards, what happened last night in Debrecen was extraordinary.

The Főnix Arena saw plenty of drama when Hungary staged UEFA Futsal EURO 2010, but the 2016 play-off second-leg between Hungary and Romania topped that. It was 2-2 after the first leg, and that scoreline was matched over Tuesday's 40 minutes, prompting extra time. Florin Matei's hat-trick goal for Romania seemed to have won the tie for the visitors on away goals, but Zoltán Dróth gave Hungary hope with just under four minutes remaining and then – with a single second left – he headed in Norbert Öreglaki's hopeful long ball to spark wild celebrations among the players and the 3,573-strong crowd.

Now Sito Rivera, who left Romania in 2013 to coach Hungary, can look forward to the 2 October draw for February's finals in Belgrade, the third time Hungary have qualified after 2005 and 2010, when they were hosts.

Sito Rivera, Hungary coach
I know how important this victory is to Hungarian fans. My players fought until the end, they didn't give up the struggle and there's no better way to win this tie. We worked so hard in these last few weeks – the players gave everything in these two matches and we deserved this victory.

I have been a coach for 30 years and have seen these kinds of last-second winners before – this can happen in futsal. Even with six seconds to go and the ball in your half you still have a chance, so I still believed something could happen.

Zoltán Dróth, Hungary player
It is a great thing to qualify for a European Championship, particularly because a match against Romania is always important for our whole country. Winning it in the last few seconds is a fairy-tale.

We battled right to the end and over the two games I think we deserved to win the tie. Even at 3-2, I felt our team still had some strength left, but it would have been entirely normal for some people to have given up hope with just a couple of minutes to go. We have had bad luck over the years but tonight made up for all that.

The best option in those last few seconds was to play the ball long and I was there in exactly the right place to head the ball in. It wasn't a move we'd practised but it went in and we have qualified. It was a great experience to score right in front of those great fans of ours at that end of the pitch.