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Ferencváros settle for second best

Monthly review: Ferencvárosi TC won the race for second place in Hungary to qualify for the UEFA Cup.

By Márton Dinnyés

With Debreceni VSC having won the title in the middle of May, the final rounds of the Hungarian season were all about the jostle for second place.

Close contest
At the start of the final day of the campaign on 27 May, Ferencvárosi TC, MTK Hungária FC, Újpesti TE and Györi ETO FC were all within two points of each other, each harbouring hopes of grabbing second place and seizing a berth in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup. It was to be a day of drama for all the clubs involved.

All winners
Újpest and Györ both won their games, but their hopes of taking the silver medal were dashed. MTK thought that they had taken that particular prize as their 2-1 win against Vasas SC ruled Újpest and Györ out of the race, but in the end it was a late goal for Ferencváros that proved decisive.

Late goal
Budapest Honvéd FC had no intention of allowing their local rivals an easy ride on the final day of the season, and should have dashed Ferencváros' hopes of a UEFA Cup place in the second half when they missed a penalty. However, they had no response when Hungarian international striker Thomas Sowunmi scored after 89 minutes.

More victories
That goal earned Ferencváros a 1-0 victory and saw them finish level on points with MTK, taking second place by virtue of having won one more game. Ferencváros will join Matáv Football Club Sopron, the team who defeated them in the Hungarian Cup final, in the UEFA Cup.

László scandal
It was a happy ending for Ferencváros coach Csaba László although he is still in trouble after being fined €4,000 for abusing the referee and refusing to participate in the medals ceremony at the Hungarian Cup final. His side lost the game 5-1 on 11 May and had three players dismissed.

Top scorer
Amid all the drama, Debrecen ended their first title-winning season with a 2-1 defeat at Zalaegerszegi TE despite having been a goal ahead. Békéscsabai EFC and Nyíregyházi FC were both relegated. Slovakian striker Thomas Medved finished as the NB I's top scorer with 18 goals despite his side, Pápa TFC, finishing third from bottom.