Jozsef Szabo: "Each game was unforgettable during that UEFA run, but this for me was the best.”

We sat down and spoke to the Videoton legend who scored four goals in that memorable game against Partizan at the Sostoi.

At the end of 1984 in the UEFA Cup, which was the predecessor to the Europa League, took place the Vidi – Partizan match. Our team went through 5-2 on aggregate then against the Yugoslavian star side, with Videoton winning the home leg 5-0. A special point of interest was that just like in 1984, a French side was also knocked out by Vidi, like now in 2017, before the game with Partizan. Everybody knows what happened after that with the heroic Fehervar team going all the way to the final. The home game against the Yugoslavian team produced one hero in the form of four goal striker Jozsef Szabo. He remembers back to that game:

“We were not pleased when we found out. Yugoslavia was very strong then in that sport, especially the players and the supporters, who in a good sense represented fanaticism. Partizan had done really well in the previous round to beat English side QPR 4-0 after losing 6-2 away. Understandably that really helped their confidence and perhaps they underestimated us and they did not think that we would cause a surprise to them at the Sostoi. We also were in good confidence and full of optimism after the previous two rounds and we were hopeful of going through. There was plenty of expectation leading up to the game and wherever we went in the city, you could feel the love of the people and that they were backing us and the team. It was not by accident that 25000 people came out for the game and produced a wonderful atmosphere at the Sostoi stadium. If we would say that we won 5-0, you would think that it was an easy game, but this is not at all how it was. The Yugoslavian side battled hard and they kicked and bit throughout the game. We scored 5 goals from the 7 chances we created, and this was the difference.” - commented four goal hero, Szabo

Naturally we did not only ask about the match, but also the four goals that the top Vidi forward scored. “It is not difficult to revive the four goals, and every moment is still within me after all that time. After 12 minutes, a low ball in from Győző Burcsa went towards Gyuri Novath, but he slipped on the grass, and I arrived behind him and scored with my right foot. This is football! The second half started like a dream. Lajos Májer went down the left wing and I arrived unmarked in the middle. Although these situations may appear to be easy, I was most scared that I would hit the ball over from 1-2 meters, as had happened, but there was no mistake in my finishing. The Yugoslavian side were in disbelief, but we did not stop there. We got hold of the ball quickly after the restart, and after 3 or 4 passes, Vadász hit the ball forward and I flicked the ball on with my head, which Győző Burcsa controlled, but he was brought down and the referee pointed to the spot. I usually took the penalty and I did not think any different about not taking it. The goalkeeper went the right way, but it went to the corner and he could not reach it. We then did not get out of our own half for the next 20 minutes after the third goal. There was a feeling that they could score a consolation, which would have influenced who went through. We were under pressure and forced back for a long period when Győző Burcsa headed a ball out of our box, and Gyuri Novath went down the left. He passed it into the middle and I arrived alone. It was a great counter attack move with three of us crossing the half way line to make it 4-0!  That ended them and the final nail came. Lajos Májer got hold of the ball close to the line and we were all waiting for him to cross it, but he shot at the near post to send our supporters and players euphoric. Each game was unforgettable during that UEFA run, but this for me was the best.”

There is little chance in this evening’s game that the high scoring game of 33 years ago will be repeated. A slight one goal success for our side would be enough to make it through to the EL group stage for the first time since 2012 COME ON VIDI!


Author: David Rechnitzer

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