Hungary 2-1 Croatia: World Cup runners-up lose Euro 2020 qualifier
Hungary 2-1 Croatia: World Cup runners-up blow lead to lose Euro 2020 qualifier in Budapest as Luka Modric and Co are humbled by Mate Patkai’s first international goal
- Croatia blew a one-goal lead to lose to Hungary in Sunday’s Euro 2020 qualifier
- Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic and Dejan Lovren all played the full game
- Ante Rebic put Croatia in front but Adam Szalai equalised after 34 minutes
- Mate Patkai scored his first international goal to win the game for Hungary
Hungary humbled World Cup runners-up Croatia in Budapest on Sunday as Luka Modric and Co were dealt a setback in their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign.
Midfielder Mate Patkai scored his first international goal for Hungary to secure a come-from-behind win over Croatia, who are ranked 48 places above them by FIFA.
The result in a pulsating match threw Group E wide open after Wales beat Slovakia 1-0 in Cardiff earlier on Sunday.
Luka Modric was part of the star-studded Croatia side humbled by Hungary in Budapest
Mate Patkai (left) scored his first international goal to win Sunday’s qualifier for Hungary
Slovakia, Wales, Hungary and Croatia have three points each while Azerbaijan have none, although like the Welsh the Azeris have only played one game while the rest have played two.
The Croatians, who laboured to a 2-1 home win over Azerbaijan on Thursday, appeared set for plain sailing when Ante Rebic gave them a sixth-minute lead from close range after Andrej Kramaric poked a low cross into his path.
But Hungary, roared on by a fervent home crowd in the Groupama Arena, levelled in the 34th through striker Adam Szalai who took a clever Balazs Dzsudzsak pass into his stride and powered his shot past keeper Lovre Kalinic from a tight angle.
Captain Dzsudzsak, who celebrated a milestone 100th international appearance with a fine display, was at the heart of Hungary’s spirited performance which was rewarded by Patkai’s 76th-minute winner after Croatia failed to clear a corner.
Croatia substitute Marin Leovac failed to head away the inswinging set piece and Patkai steered the ball past Kalinic from two metres to delight the home faithful while silencing a large contingent of vocal away fans.
Hungary, who lost 2-0 away to Slovakia in their opener, nearly scored again several minutes later as Croatia cleared the ball of the line three times in a frantic goalmouth scramble and failed to threaten at the other end in the closing stages.
Earlier, Wales midfielder Daniel James netted a fifth-minute winner against Slovakia with his first international goal on his competitive debut for the Welsh, who visit Croatia in their next qualifier on June 8 when Hungary travel to Azerbaijan.
No 18 Ante Rebic gave Croatia a 13th-minute lead in Budapest before the home side hit back
Adam Szalai, pictured (right) celebrating with Peter Gulacsi at full-time, scored an equaliser