Pál Dárdai had a goal-scoring opportunity against Qabala but missed the big chance. At the same time, he assisted twice in the 4-1 win for Fehérvár (Photo: Attila Török)


– Weren't you scared when Qabala took the lead?

– No! – said Pál Dárdai, the 23-year-old striker for MOL Fehérvár. – I was sure we would win! We just needed to calm down. At the beginning of the game, we were rushing, maybe were even a bit nervous. Strange as it may sound, the conceded goal was good for us, and after that, we started to play football the way we are capable of.

– Instead of zero to one, it could have been one to zero...
– Don't remind me! I'm still annoyed that I missed the big chance at the start of the game, it would have been nice to open the season with a goal. Although I've come to the conclusion that what I missed last time will work next time.

– I suppose the two assists made up for it somewhat.
– You see, I was very happy about that. I like assists, all the more because without them a goal is rarely born... The first one was a corner shot, but the second one was quite nice, and Kenan Kodro finished it off like a legend. He's a great footballer and a real team player, and when he receives a goal pass, he always thanks you. He is a pleasure to play with – as are the others.

– Your father also sat in the MOL Arena's Sóstó stand. Did he praise you after the match?
– He did, but he added that the night would have been perfect if I had scored that opportunity. He was right.

– Did the four to win decide the advancement?
– Let's just say that we have a good chance of making it to the next round. By defeating Qabala by three goals, we can say that we started the season the way we wanted to, but in the return leg, we want to pick up where we left off last Thursday.

– Can we agree that it would be a huge disappointment to be knocked out?
– Yes, we can. However, let's not forget that anything can happen in football – even to the greatest. Just remember that a year or two ago Liverpool lost three to nil in Barcelona, then won the second game 4–0. Or how Barca lost 4–0 in Paris, everyone thought the Catalans were sure to be knocked out, then came the second leg and the 6–1 victory... So, for my part, I'll only classify our advancement if the final whistle is heard at the match in Azerbaijan, which went according to our plan. We've worked the same way in the last few days as we did before the first game, if we play the football we can out there, we'll achieve our goal.

– In the next round they will face either Petrocub Hincesti or KF Laki: would you choose your Moldovan or Albanian rival?
– I don't care, just play with one of them! I think we are good enough to overcome that obstacle. We have had a tough but good preparation; Michael Boris and his staff have made us work hard. We beat Galatasaray in the last game of the training camp and although it was only a test match, it was good for us mentally to beat the Turkish star team; it gave us confidence. It meant a lot that we had six weeks of preparation in the summer, and we now know what Michael Boris wants to see back on the pitch. Our head coach took over the team on the fly in the last championship, so it took a while for everyone to understand the system, but I feel we are now in complete harmony. It's no wonder because if I take the last nine games of the last season, we've been undefeated for ten matches.

– How long can the series last?
– If it's up to me, at least until Christmas...

– Is the aim to reach the group stage in the Europa Conference League?
– Even if it wasn't said out loud, we would like to get there. I think we can do it, we have the qualities in our team. I am convinced that we will be better than we were last year. Last year was not a bright year, I expect much more from us this year.

– Maybe the team can even press Ferencváros?
– Our first goal is to get on the podium, and then we'll see how high we can go. Of course, I would like to contribute to the success we are hoping for. I finished the last season with five goals and six assists, and I was a starter in most of the games. All in all, it was okay, but it could have been better. I'd be happy if the number of my goals and assists were around ten this year, I'd accept it right now.

– Does the new team captain rebuke you too if he has to?
– Of course. Even though Attila Fiola is one of my best friends, the rules apply to me as well. It soon became clear that it was no coincidence that the team and the staff chose Attila, he keeps order and discipline on and off the pitch. We have respect for him, and we do what he says.

– After the first clash against Qabala, you said that the team must win in Azerbaijan as well...
– Then we will try to win!

A LONG TRIP AWAITS VIDI

– It is the early bird – that leaves for Azerbaijan. The delegation of MOL Fehérvár FC flies to Qabala on Wednesday morning at quarter to eight. The journey of about four hours will be followed by lunch, rest, and then training at the time and venue of the match (the Qabala City Stadium can accommodate 4500 spectators), which will kick off on Thursday at 8pm local time and 6pm Hungary time. The team will also spend the night after the match in Qabala, even training there on Friday morning before returning home in the afternoon.

 

EUROPA CONFERENCE LEAGUE, QUALIFIERS
ROUND 2, REMATCH

THURSDAY

6pm:
Qabala (Azerbaijan)–MOL Fehérvár FC – live on NSO!