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This is a match of UEFA Euro 2024 Qualification, Group C – Matchday 7.
Kick off: 18:45 UTC Saturday Oct 14, 2023.
Referee: Duje Strukan, Croatia
Venue: Stadio Comunale San Nicola, Bari
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In a historic moment, Hungary has emerged victorious over Serbia on their home turf, clinching a 2-1 win in UEFA European Championship qualification action. This victory brings them one step closer to securing their third-successive Euros finals appearance, marking a remarkable achievement in their footballing history.
Hungary, aware that a win here would put them in pole position for a spot at Euro 2024, wasted no time asserting their dominance in the game. Their early efforts paid off when Loïc Négo exploited the offside trap and unselfishly set up Barnabás Varga to open the scoring. In the world of football, it’s often said that teams are most vulnerable after scoring, and Hungary had Dénes Dibusz to thank for denying Aleksandar Mitrović shortly after their opener.
However, Hungary’s lead was short-lived, as Serbia quickly responded. Nemanja Gudelj’s corner was met with a powerful header by Strahinja Pavlović, leveling the score. Just as the Magyars had a scare after scoring their first goal, Serbia found themselves in a similar situation. While they were still celebrating their equalizer, Roland Sallai struck a magnificent volley from 25 yards, reestablishing Hungary’s lead before halftime.
At the halftime break, Serbia’s manager, Dragan Stojković, made two key substitutions that significantly altered the course of the game. Twice within the opening 10 minutes of the second half, Aleksandar Mitrović found the back of the net, only to have his celebrations cut short by the assistant referee’s flag. The game could have easily gone beyond Serbia when Hungary’s two goalscorers combined, but despite Sallai’s perfectly delivered cross to Varga’s head, the ball struck the crossbar.
In an end-to-end contest, the woodwork came into play on the other end when Dušan Tadić, a halftime substitute, struck the post, followed by Pavlović crashing the rebound onto the same post. This sequence proved to be a crucial turning point, as Serbia’s chances dwindled, and they suffered a defeat that has left their top-two position in jeopardy. For Hungary, this victory signifies a significant step towards securing a spot at Germany 2024, bringing them tantalizingly close to next summer’s prestigious event.
Roland Sallai was named the Man of the Match for his exceptional performance.