Hungary 1-0 Wales: Gareth Bale scuff leaves Ryan Giggs' side left with mountain to climb
Highlights and report as Wales fall to fourth in Group E after defeat
By Lewis Jones
Last Updated: 12/06/19 8:27am
Wales slipped further off the pace in Group E after falling to a 1-0 defeat to Hungary as Gareth Bale missed a sitter with the scores level.
In a game of fine margins, Mate Patkai scored the decisive goal (80) to send Hungary top of the group and leave Ryan Giggs' side six points behind the leaders.
It could have been different for the visitors had an out-of-sorts Bale finished from close range with the goal gaping, but he scuffed his effort into the ground.
Wales have now lost five of their last six away games in all competitions and now might need to win all of their remaining games to qualify for Euro 2020.
Hungary: Gulacsi (7), Barath (7), Korhut (7), Orban (8), Lovrencsics (7), Nagy (7), Patkai (8), Szoboszlai (7), Dzsudzsák (7), Holender (6), Szalai (8)
Subs: Kalmar (7), Kleinheisler (7), Varga (7)
Wales: Hennessey (6), Gunter (6), Williams (6), J Lawrence (5), Davies (5), Allen (6), Ampadu (5), Lawrence (7), Brooks (6), James (7), Bale (4)
Subs: Smith (6), Vokes (7), Wilson (6)
Man of the Match: Adam Szalai
Bale's nightmare in Budapest....
Giggs freshened things up after defeat to Croatia, making five changes with David Brooks and Ashley Williams among the players returning.
Hungary had won their previous four home matches and started full of confidence with Adam Szalai and Dominik Szoboszlai causing the visitors serious problems.
Willi Orban headed Balazs Dzsudzsak's corner into the side netting while the lively Dan James set up Tom Lawrence for Wales' best moment of the opening half.
Bale - struggling to get into the game - had a moment to put his team in control on the hour mark but fluffed his lines in uncharacteristic fashion.
Lawrence scampered clear and picked out the unmarked Bale, but the Real Madrid forward scooped the ball straight at Hungary goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi with his right foot. He remains without a goal in all competitions since March.
Bale's miss would prove crucial as Hungary finished strongly with Joe Allen's acrobatic goal-line clearance keeping the scores level.
However, the hosts continued to probe and Szalai's presence in the box paved the way for Patkai to fire home to leave Wales with a mountain to climb in Group E.
Man of the match: Adam Szalai
When in this mood, the target man is a force to be reckoned with when Hungary play to his strengths. His team-mates didn't give him much to work with, but he produced the key moment to bulldoze two Welsh defenders out of his way to set up the winning goal for Patkai.
- Wales have now lost three of their five previous away meetings with Hungary in all competitions (W2), although this was their first such defeat to them since November 1962.
- Wales have fallen to back-to-back defeats in competitive games for the first time since September 2013 (three in a row).
- Hungary have now won each of their last five home matches across all competitions, keeping three clean sheets in this run.
- Under Giggs, Wales have lost four of their five away matches (W1), having only lost four in their final 13 such games under Chris Coleman (W5 D4 L4).
- Hungary are unbeaten in seven home games in European Championship qualification matches (W5 D2), and have won each of their last four in succession.
- Pátkai has scored in two of his last three appearances for Hungary (two goals), with both coming in his last two home matches for his country.
Giggs disappointed by defeat
"I'm disappointed. You can't fault the effort - we worked tremendously hard but in both games we've created chances and not put them away. Whether it's concentration or quality - for us to score only one goal in those two games is ridiculous.
"We have to win the majority of our remaining games - we do have a game in hand. We've got to climb up that table but I think teams will take points off each other. We now have to rely on other teams picking up results - but we've got to start winning games."
Pundit reaction: James Collins
On Bale's chance: "It's a glorious chance - nine times out of 10, he scores it. Bale has been brilliant for Wales for so long but if that one goes in it's a different game. The ball has come across on his wrong foot and unfortunately, he's not stuck it away.
"It's a tough one to take. It puts added pressure on Wales now - it's building the pressure. It's going to be a tough ask to qualify."
Wales face Azerbaijan next in Cardiff on September 9 before a friendly with Belarus four days later. Meanwhile, Hungary have a chance to take control of the group with a home clash with Slovakia on September 9.