Hungary deal blow to Wales' Euro 2020 hopes after Bale sitter
Euro 2020 Qualifier, Group E – Groupama Arena – Hungary 1 (Patkai 80') Wales 0
Wales' hopes of qualifying for Euro 2020 suffered a blow as Mate Patkai's 80th-minute strike consigned them to a 1-0 defeat to Hungary at the Groupama Arena in Budapest.
Three days after going down to defeat in Osijek against Croatia, Wales suffered a second away loss, leaving them with no margin for error from their remaining games, without the guaranteed safety net of a Nations League play-off place.
Gareth Bale was guilty of missing a glorious chance at 0-0 as he scuffed his close-range shot from Tom Lawrence's cross - and Wales were made to pay as Patkai collected the loose ball following good hold-up play from Adam Szalai to lash in the winner via the head of Ben Davies.
The Hungary fans and players celebrated as though they had already qualified at the full-time whistle, conducting an impromptu rendition of the national anthem in front of their ultras. There is now a good chance they will be at the party they are partially hosting next summer after moving six points clear of their opponents in Group E.
Hungary are top on nine points - three ahead of Slovakia and Croatia in second and third respectively, leaving Wales with plenty of ground to make up. Ryan Giggs' side face Azerbaijan in Cardiff next in September.
Hungary celebrate their late winner against Wales on TuesdayGetty Images
Bale in desperate need of a reset. Daniel James provided glimpses of his huge potential and it was Manchester United-bound winger who looked most likely to unlock the Hungary defence on the counter-attack. But for Wales' talisman, this was another very bleak evening which epitomised his season.
Nothing went right for him, but despite being virtually anonymous, it looked as though he would provide the difference when he was left unmarked to meet Lawrence's cross around the hour-mark.
But Bale fluffed his lines, underlining that he is a man bereft of any confidence. Unwanted by his club, a move back to the Premier League will be the talk of the summer, but the player himself just looks in desperate need of a reset.
Gareth Bale misses a great chance for WalesGetty Images
Hungary: Gulacsi 7, Barath 7, Korhut 7, Orban 7, Lovrencsics 7, Nagy 7, Patkai 7, Szoboszlai 7, Dzsudzsak 8, Holender 7, Szalai 8. Subs - Kleinheisler 6, R Varga 6, Bese n/a
MAN OF THE MATCH
Adam Szalai (Hungary): Hungary were the more dangerous side in the opening 45 minutes, but after fading during the opening 15 minutes of the second period, it was Szalai who dragged his side back into the ascendancy with his superb work rate and aerial presence.
Ashley Williams, on his return to the Wales team, had his hands full throughout, and it was his younger centre-back partner James Lawrence who was pinned for the game's decisive moment as the Hoffenheim front man forced the ball to be worked to Patkai for his winning strike.
Adam Szalai kept Wales busy with his physical presenceGetty Images
24' - SHOT! Here's the first glimpse of the devastating pace of Daniel James as he takes Allen's pass and is away from three Hungary players down the left. He unselfishly sets up Lawrence as he scampers into the box but the shot is saved low to the left by Gulácsi.
42' - CLOSE! Szalai does really well to take this ball down and work it out left to Dzsudzsák. You don't want to afford him space on this, but he nearly picks out the onrushing Szoboszlai but Hennessey does well to get something on the deflected cross and the ball is eventually cleared.
55' - BIG CHANCE!! Dominik Szoboszlai knows he must do better here. The ball is worked over to the far side by Lovrencsics. Larwenece's header is initially good, before Brooks doesn't put enough pressure on Szoboszlai but his shot is always rising!!
61' - WHAT A MISS! I can't believe Gareth Bale has missed this. Wales are clean through after excellent work from Brooks sets up Lawrence... Bale waits for it in the middle but he can't catch the ball across goal right as he completely scuffs his shot into the ground and into the arms of Gulácsi.
77' - OFF THE LINE! These are nervy moments for Wales as they look really uneasy with a miscommunication between Hennessey and Bale from the resulting corner leading to Joe Allen doing really well to hook the ball off the line from Orban unorthodox attempt!
80' - GOAL! Hungary 1-0 Wales. Wales are staring down the barrel of back-to-back defearts now as Máté Pátkai - who scored the winner here against Croatia - may have just done the same against Wales. The referee plays a good advantage after James Lawrence has his arms all over Szalai, and Patkai comes onto it to finish despite Davies' best efforts!
- 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 Ryan 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.
- Mate Patkai 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.