In the 22nd round of the OTP Bank League, defending champions and UEL semi-finalists Mezőkövesd hosted the men's football team at the Groupama Arena. Our head coach Stanislav Cherchesov started with Dibusz - Wingo, Abena, Kovacevic, Civic - Esiti, Sigér, Mercier - Traoré, Marquinhos - R. Mmaee.
Before the match, the first HSA Group Player of the Month Award was presented to Ryan Mmaee, who was voted by our fans and received the award from our Sporting Director, Tamás Hajnal.
We took the initiative right from the start, the visitors rarely crossed the half-line, we had our way after the start, and Adama Traoré scored the 1st goal of the game in the 11th minute. A few minutes later, after a pass from Ryan Mmaee, our Malian international dribbled into the box and fired the ball from about 17 metres out, which bounced off a defender and into the goal, but the video referee disallowed the goal for a foul.
In the 24th minute, Dibusz Dénes saved Filip's shot from a good 23-24 metres, but Civic couldn't clear the rebound and Besirovic shot from about 13 metres, but his shot rebounded off Abena and the ball fell to Drazic, who put the ball in the net to level the scores (1-1). The goal calmed the visitors down and Mezőkövesd started to play with more courage. As half time approached, Mercier tried a long range effort but his shot missed the target, then Traoré came very close to a double, while at the other end Filip again had a great shot that just missed Dibusz' goal, and that was the end of the first half.
We made two substitutions at the break. Nikolai Baden Frederiksen and Bálint Vécsei replaced Mmaee and Esiti. In the 51st minute, Civic showed an amazing sprint, after Molnár from the visitors had a one-on-one chance with Dibusz, our Bosnian defender managed to block the shot, and in the 60th minute, Drazic's header was saved by our goalkeeper.
Kristoffer Zachariassen then came on for Mercier. In the 72nd minute, Zachariassen, who had just joined the team, headed towards the net but Piscitelli had no problems saving, as he did with Vécsei's effort a minute later. Soon afterwards, our Bosnian international Amer Gojak, returning from injury, came on for Marquinhos. The midfielder last played against Honvéd on 13 November 2022. In the break, Wingo made a fantastic burst into the box, his rebounded shot was headed into the net by Zachariassen, but the flag was waved for offside. Gojak had the winner goal at his feet, but his long-range shot went just over.
Our football team eventually finished 1-1 with Mezőkövesd to warm up for the away leg of our UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie against Bayer Leverkusen next week.
OTP Bank League, Round 22
FTC – Mezőkövesd 1-1 (1-1)
Budapest, Groupama Aréna
FTC: Dibusz – Wingo, Abena, Kovacevic, Civic – Esiti (Vécsei, a szünetben), Sigér, Mercier (Zachariassen, 64.) – Traoré, Marquinhos (Gojak, 75.), R. Mmaee (Baden, a szünetben). Head coach: Sztanyiszlav Csercseszov
Mezőkövesd: Piscitelli – Kállai, Lukic, Pillár, Lehoczky (Vajda, a szünetben), Filip– Besirovic, Cseri, Karnitski (Brtan, 79.) – Molnár (Beriashvili, 90+1), Drazic. Head coach: Kuttor Attila
Yellow card: Wingo (45.), Marquinhos (45.) resp. Lukic (45.), Cseri (45+6), Karnitski (49.), Besirovic (50.)
Goals: Traoré (11.), resp. Drazic (24.)
A goal before the break proved to be the decisive goal of 24th round of the OTP Bank Liga: ZTE-FTC 1-0.
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