Hungary 0-1 Portugal

In a match that few will revisit as a classic example of Portuguese footballing prowess, the Seleção overcame fiercely stubborn resistance from ten-man Hungary and ran out of Budapest with three crucial points.

André Silva headed home a Cristiano Ronaldo cross in the face of uncompromising treatment from the home side who very nearly snatched a dramatic winner deep in stoppage time.

Just 3 days removed from the resounding 5-1 victory over the Faroe Islands in Porto, Fernando Santos did make several key changes to the starting XI. Despite a wonderful performance on Thursday, William found himself second favorite to Danilo while Fabio Coentrão earned his first cap since October 8th, 2015 in place of Eliseu. 

Bernardo Silva was also withdrawn for Gelson, whose scintillating form with Sporting proved too difficult for Fernando Santos to overlook a second time. Santos replaced Fonte with Bruno Alves to address the Hungarian's threat from set pieces. 

Both sides initially struggled to gain a foothold in possession but it was Portugal who created the first attacking threat of the match. Ronaldo cut inside from the left and uncorked a wickedly swerving drive that very nearly deceived Gulacsi with its movement, but the Hungarian keeper managed to palm it over the crossbar to safety. Portugal remained in the ascendancy winning a series of corners, and Ronaldo really should have scored in the 8th minute with a glancing header that flashed wide of the right post.

Portugal flatly refused to grant Hungary the space to counterattack with Danilo often involved in wrestling back possession in midfield. The Porto midfielder sliced a shot wide of goal before Moutinho had a gdalbound shot blocked. 

But both sides were dealt a blow starting in the 27th minute as Coentrão sustained a left thigh injury and had to be withdrawn for Eliseu. While the match was still in a relative lull following the substitution, Tamas Priskin was shown a straight red card for a deliberate elbow on Pepe leaving the Besiktas defender in a heap with blood trickling from his brow.

Hungary's aggressive and physical approach continued to break the flow of the game as Cédric required medical attention to address a cut on his cheek following an encounter with Dzsudzsak. Despite their man advantage, Portugal labored to break down the Hungarian's stubborn defense but still should have taken the lead as the first half wound to a close. André Silva found space through the left side of the penalty area, but his effort was straight at Gulacsi allowing the keeper to make a routine save. 

Santos made no changes to start the second half, and the home side remained in a low block formation to limit goalmouth opportunities. But Portugal forced their way through nonetheless when Ronaldo got free down the left and crossed into the box for André Silva, who risked being kicked in the face to bundle the ball over the line in the 48th minute.

Hungary went for and very nearly found an immediate reply when a poor clearance broke for Patkai to strike his effort just the wrong side of the left upright. Hungary made their first change in the 60th minute and Bernardo Silva was introduced in place of Gelson minutes later to leverage more pressure on the Hungarian backline. 

João Mário got loose down the left but his cross was cut out at the vital moment. Portugal lowered the passing tempo to that of a routine training session, but Hungary refused to chase the match in spite of their need for points. With less than 10 minutes remaining, Cédric's cross was deflected into the path of Ronaldo but his goalbound effort was superbly blocked by Fiola.

Hungary very nearly found the most unlikeliest of equalizers at the death, but in the end Hungary's crude, overly physical approach was insufficient to deter Portugal from securing all three points. It was a contemptuous affair that will hardly have endeared the two sides to each other, but Portugal remain on the same collision course with Switzerland that they have traveled since the opening match of qualification. 

Danilo, Cédric, and the Portuguese defensive effort was superb in preventing any meaningful threat to Patricio's goal while Gelson may yet lament his inability to assert himself in a match that seemed well suited for his particular brand of football. Moutinho, though unspectacular, was efficient in his role as midfield manager while Ronaldo once again proved to be the creative outlet that Portugal desperately needed to overcome the resolute home side. Fabio Coentrão's untimely injury and Eliseu's subsequent performance will once again painfully remind Portugal fans of the glaring hole at left-back in the absence of Raphael Guerreiro.

Portugal will travel to Andorra for their penultimate match of World Cup qualification on October 7th.

  

by Nathan Motz

Starting lineups

Hungary: Peter Gulacsi, Attila, Richard Guzmics, Tamas Kadar, Mihaly Korhut, Gergo Lovrenscsics (Roland Varga, 78'), Balazs Dzsudzsak, Mate Patkai, Akos Elek (Pinter, 68'), Tamas Priskin, Marton Eppel (Daniel Bode, 61')

Portugal: Patrício, Cédric, Pepe, Alves, Coentrão (Eliseu, 28'), Danilo, João Moutinho, João Mário, Gelson (Bernardo Silva, 63'), André Silva (Ricardo Quaresma, 86'), Ronaldo

Goals:

[0-1] André Silva, 48’

Comments (24)

  1. Steve Harrison

I'd suggest three conclusion can be drawn from tonight's shameful performance (and Thursday's hugely unimpressive effort against the Faroe Islands.)

The first is that, 12 months after winning Euro 2016, Fernando Santos still has no clue what...

I'd suggest three conclusion can be drawn from tonight's shameful performance (and Thursday's hugely unimpressive effort against the Faroe Islands.)

The first is that, 12 months after winning Euro 2016, Fernando Santos still has no clue what his best starting XI looks like. What is certain, however, is that whoever he picks, this team have no chance of winning the World Cup.

Which leads me to the other related conclusion: many of the contributors to this site have been deluding themselves for the past two years. There is no Golden Generation coming through. Portugal is not producing the best young players in Europe, but Portuguese agents are undoubtedly the best in the world.

How else to you explain flops like Renato Sanches and Andre Gomes? (and, as the reductio ad absurdum, that Pedro Neto and Bruno Jordao have been sold to Lazio for over 25million euro)

I would be amazed if we're not adding Andre Silva to the list of listless failures in 12 months time - and probably Bernardo, too.

Do not fool yourselves that these players along with the appalingly negative Joao Mario and the glacially slow William are world beaters. They are all journeymen pros.

As such, they are not substantially better than the much derided team from what are commonly regarded as the dark years under Queiroz and Bento. Let's compare them should we?

Look at this evening's midfield: Danilo, Moutinho (aged 30) and Joao (sidways) Mario and ask yourself if this line-up really superior to Veloso, Moutinho (aged 24) and Meireles?

How about up front? Are Ronaldo (aged 34) , Andre Sliva and Martins any better than Ronaldo (aged 28), Postiga and Nani (When Nani was the other best winger in Europe)?

Oh, and by the way, is tonight's centre back pairing of Pepe (aged 34) and Bruno Alves (aged 36) really any better than Pepe (aged 28) and Bruno Alves (aged 30).

Clearly there's been too much drinking of the Kool Aid by many of the contributors to this site. Encouraged along the way by the most fortuitous of Championship wins last summer (anyone remember being saved by the woodwork against France, Hungary and Croatia?)

The one consolation is that Portugal do have an albeit fading footballer of proven world class. But the manager insists on using him, Quaresma, in camoe roles. And, oh yes, there's still Cristiano. But when he goes then all those who are flattering to deceive at the moment will be exposed. And then the backlash on this site from those who've actually been deceiving themselves will be horrible to behold.

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  1. Tony    Steve Harrison

Good analysis and I commend you for making a strong argument. I have been a bit critical of our current young generation. I think they are overrated and they certainly are not on the list of top young talents in Europe. They seem to be a tier...

Good analysis and I commend you for making a strong argument. I have been a bit critical of our current young generation. I think they are overrated and they certainly are not on the list of top young talents in Europe. They seem to be a tier below the top talent, I would say they have more to offer than the past generation like our midfield. These players are more athletic and faster with a little more flair.

I am not sold on players like A Silva, B Silva (I don't see all the hype), and Gelson. I think Bruma could be a decent player but he will likely end up being a player equal to Nani. Overall, I still think these players have a little more to offer than the past gen. Time will tell if they will be solid contributors but I don't see a top 10-20 players in the world with this mix.

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  1. STEVE HARRISON    Tony

Dear Tony, thank you. It was almost as painful to write as last night's game was to watch! Steve

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  1. Tony

Gutty performance and win, as stated by many good teams get points when not performing well. What are the key takeaways.

1) Despite a goal from Andre Silva our young players have not distinguished themselves. Gelson had me begging for Nani to...

Gutty performance and win, as stated by many good teams get points when not performing well. What are the key takeaways.

1) Despite a goal from Andre Silva our young players have not distinguished themselves. Gelson had me begging for Nani to get healthy.
Plays timid, gives up ball to early doesn't attack, makes a mess of anything he touches. Bernando Silva IMO fails to deliver, looks nice playing ball outside the attacking zone but shows nothing in attacking zone. Is Bruma he answer? Nani still has a spot in the starting line up at this point.

2) J Mario is a solid contributor and presence, he needs to play. J Moutinho is a steady influence and still has a place on team due to the lack of production from the young players. He should be more of a super sub a this point in his career but the young players not convincing.

3) Danilo needs to play, he is one of our best players. Can cover a lot of ground. He could be a CB on this team to play along aside William.

4) Fabio C is done, nothing else can be said. He is not a reliable player and Eliseu demonstrated he is inept. Ricardo P may be a better option given Raphael is out. This is a concern for the Swiss game but Elisue is so inept we lose our attack from the left channel. Cedric once again came through with a workman like performance, one of our best players at this point.

5) Bruno Alves and Pepe once again played solid and don't worry about their age. CBs can play for a long time. Just need to make sure you have good cover in front of them and you have with Danilo/William. Future CBs will have to be after 2018 IMO. BTW Fonte is slipping, a big area for concern. Maybe one of the young CB could make it as a back up but there is not much depth.

6) Overall, we'll take the points. Get your best line up ready for October 10 and we'll take our chances.

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  1. jon/usa

Not the prettiest of victories, but a deserved one nonetheless. It was never going to be easy to create a ton of opportunities against such a defense-minded opponent, especially when they went down to 10 men. This Hungary side struggled to string...

Not the prettiest of victories, but a deserved one nonetheless. It was never going to be easy to create a ton of opportunities against such a defense-minded opponent, especially when they went down to 10 men. This Hungary side struggled to string two or three passes together, so they simply resorted to elbow-throwing and late challenges whenever possible. Thankfully the ref didn't let them get away with it.

I think today's game was the perfect illustration of what set's Danilo apart from William. Both men are tall, physically imposing trincos, but they're actually quite different in terms of style. Danilo uses his pace and physicality to shut down counter-attacks, whereas the much slower William is far more incisive with the ball at his feet. Fernando Santos was wary of the threat Hungary posed on set-pieces and counter-attacks, so it made sense to go with Danilo from the start, even though his limitations on the ball made it difficult for us to construct attacks through the middle.

Moutinho, as Nathan mentioned, didn't produce the flashiest of performances, but he worked tirelessly without the ball and was neat and tidy in possession. Joao Mario brings balance and composure to the side, but he is still missing that cutting edge in front of goal. There were plenty of opportunities where he had the opportunity to take a crack at goal, but he seems to always opt to pick a pass. Gelson looked lively in spurts, but offered very little in terms of a cutting edge in the final third.

I was thrilled to see Coentrao back in the Seleccao starting 11, but I was not the least bit surprised to see him come off after just 20 or so minutes. The poor guy just can't catch a break. Eliseu wasn't terrible against the Faroe islands, but he really struggled tonight. Perhaps we could give Ricardo Pereira a shot at left-back? He played the position quite regularly at Nice and he never looked out of his depth.

Ronaldo didn't have a vintage performance, but he still put in a good shift at the end of the day. It's just a little worrisome that the team still looks to him to both score and create while we have other players who are more than capable of providing that cutting edge. While Bernardo Silva is always going to show off his trademark silky touches and intelligent link-up play, I'd like to see him be a little more assertive with the ball at his feet.

Overall, this was a professional performance in a crucial away match against a tricky opponent. Andorra should be pretty straight-forward, but they still shouldn't be taken for granted. I have no doubt that we will have more than enough quality to get the job done against Switzerland at the Catedral.

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  1. Dave

An important three points earned.
Please let this be the last time Eliséu gets call up. He's got to be one of the worst players I've ever seen on the national team. If Guerreiro is out, the clear option to replace him is Ricardo Pereira. Let's...

An important three points earned.
Please let this be the last time Eliséu gets call up. He's got to be one of the worst players I've ever seen on the national team. If Guerreiro is out, the clear option to replace him is Ricardo Pereira. Let's face it. Ricardo will never get a chance on the right with Cedric and Semedo ahead of him so why not use him on the left where he has shown to be very capable. He's too good to be left in the bench or even worse, left at home for atrocious players like Eliséu.
Paulo Oliveira should be called up asap. We need to sort out this defense.

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  1. Lars

Does anyone know if Bruma was dropped for this game? If so, why? I didn't see his name on the bench. Just curious.

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  1. Daniel

With Eliseu on the field Portugal are playing with 10 men. Anyone is better then him. Ricardo Pereira, Mario Rui, Rafa Soares, my own grandmother. If Santos continues with this love affair and actually brings him to the World Cup we are...

With Eliseu on the field Portugal are playing with 10 men. Anyone is better then him. Ricardo Pereira, Mario Rui, Rafa Soares, my own grandmother. If Santos continues with this love affair and actually brings him to the World Cup we are absolutely screwed.

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  1. Garrison Moratto

Hungary played so dirty, four yellows and a red, shameful

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  1. SupremoGino

It is frustrating seeing Portugal scrap out a 1-0 win against 10 men for nearly an hour but I thought we just weren't clinical enough in front of net. That cross from Coentrão early on I thought looked inch perfect.. and Ronaldo being on the end...

It is frustrating seeing Portugal scrap out a 1-0 win against 10 men for nearly an hour but I thought we just weren't clinical enough in front of net. That cross from Coentrão early on I thought looked inch perfect.. and Ronaldo being on the end of it should have made it a certain goal. Shame Coentrão walking off the field in the 28th minute pretty much sums up his career because the chemistry they had and still have is live. CR7 would go on to miss again in the 2nd half after that cross in the box was deflected right to his feet and I also thought Andre Silva could've done better on his opportunity before half time.

Joao Moutinho - nice and tidy, kept the ball moving well. if only he were given that privilege to take shots from outside the box earlier in his career instead of trying to feed CR all the time. The quality is there but Bruno Fernandes will likely be taking over in the near future which might be a problem because I still don't think this team has had enough time to gel. It doesn't help alternating between Bernardo and Gelson then having Raph and Nani in and out of the lineup due to injuries and don't forget guys like Bruma and Sanches staking their claim as we continue down the road to Russia. We have two more qualifying matches left (assuming we qualify placing 1st *knock on wood*) and then a few friendlies before the big tournament. Santos needs to start solidifying the formation and the best player personal to play as a unit and they need to play FASTER and longer passes. Our moves are so damn predictable! What happened to the one touch passing we use to play not long ago? Deco, Hugo Viana, Simão, Figo anybody? which brings me to Steve who made raised some interesting questions in his post. Are we over rating the current crop or are we just condemned this slower, mind-numbing approach with Santos' at the helm?

Who wouldn't love to have a young and fresher Ronaldo, Nani, Pepe, not to mention Quaresma at this point. That's a no brainer but the way I see it Meireles and Veloso do not hold a candle to the class we now possess in midfield if we mold them correctly. It makes you shake your head a little because this midfield with Ronaldo and Quaresma in their primes would compare to the Brazil's of the past.. the kind of Brazil team that ran the underwear off the Germans. Anyway our team is still good and it's too early to praise or dismiss our young players. Let's just hope we can get a couple good breaks..everyone back fully healthy in due time so that the lineup will be set entirely straight and they can stride towards playing more as a team.

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  1. Winnipeg

Highlight of the game for me.... Andre Gomes did not see the pitch.

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  1. carlos andrade

No comment on Ronaldo's yellow card? Does this mean if he gets a yellow card in the next match against Andorra, he will be suspended for the decisive match against Switzerland? If this is the case, it will be very risky to play him against Andorra.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY

"My goatee? It's a joke I've got going with Quaresma. We were in the sauna and I said if I scored against Spain I wouldn't shave it off. I scored so it's staying there."

Cristiano Ronaldo
(Portugal captain after scoring for the second match running against Morocco)

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