Hungary rescued a point after scoring a late, late equaliser in the 88th minute to put them on the brink of qualification for EURO 2016’s last-16, as Birkir Saevarsson put the ball into his own net to draw 1-1 with Iceland.
The Icelandic right-back was the unfortunate defender, who poked the ball into his own net after Nemanja Nikolic put in a tantalising cross after a lovely one-two between himself and Adam Nagy.
Gylfi Sigurdsson had given Iceland the lead on the stroke of half-time by tucking away a wonderfully taken penalty, as Lars Lageback’s side looked to win their first-ever match at major international tournament.
Jon Dadi Bodvarsson almost gave Iceland the lead inside the opening ten minutes when his header glanced over the crossbar after a long throw-in was helped on by Kari Arnason.
Balazs Dzsudzsak was Hungary’s main threat throughout the game and he carved out a chance with barely 20 minutes gone after he cut in from the right-hand side before his attempt was blocked.
The Icelandics continued to look a threat and should have taken the lead when Birkir Bjarnason cut open the Hungarian defence with a threaded pass to Johann Berg Gudmundsson, who shrugged off Tamas Kadar, to go one-on-one with Gabor Kiraly, but shot straight at the veteran goalkeeper.
Hungary’s best chance of the first period came when Laszlo Kleinheisler attempted an audacious effort from the right-hand side of the penalty area after shifting the ball onto his left foot, but his strike was well wide of the mark.
Iceland finally broke the deadlock shortly before half-time, when Sigurdsson dispatched a perfect penalty into the bottom left-hand corner. Aaron Gunnarsson was brought down by Kadar rather dubiously, after Kiraly had dropped the ball from an Iceland corner, which resulted in the referee pointing to the penalty spot.
For all of Hungary’s possession in the first-half; they failed to create a clear-cut chance to score, whilst Lagerback’s team sat deep, before springing quick counter-attacks and thoroughly deserved their 1-0 lead at half-time.
Hungary continued to dominate the game in the second period, but were unable to create any real chances until they scored.
Dzsudzsak came the closest to equalising with just over an hour played when his free-kick troubled shot-stopper Hannes Halldorsson, who just about managed to gather the ball, after initially palming it away from 25 yards out.
Only for Saevarsson to put the ball into his own net, thanks to some excellent play between Nagy and Nikolic, with the latter supplying a wonderfully whipped cross that was bundled in by the Icelandic defender.
Eidur Gudjohnsen had a chance to win the game with virtually the last kick of the match, but was unable to find the target after Sigurdsson’s free-kick fell to the 37-year old, who could not convert the rebound.
Man of the Match: Balazs Dzsudzsak (Hungary)
The Bursaspor midfielder was a constant threat throughout the match and was the key figure for the Hungarians.
His darting runs and pin-point passing soon helped Bernd Storck’s side dominate the match and he was unfortunate not to be on a winning team.
Dzsudzsak, even came close to scoring on two occasions, but was unable to find a way past Halldorsson in the Iceland goal.
The attacking midfielder proved why he is seen as the Hungarian talisman and why he is being sought after by many European clubs.
Portugal will need to keep the 29-year old quiet in their final first round fixture, which could decide which country wins the group.
Iceland take on Austria in their final group match on Wednesday, knowing that victory is vital for them to have a chance of advancing into the knockout stages. Whilst Hungary, whose fate lies in their own hands, face Portugal on the same day and will hope to keep star forward Cristiano Ronaldo quiet.