Dominik Szoboszlai‘s unbeaten reign as Hungary captain continued with a vital display against Bulgaria, with two assists to clinch a place at the Euros.
After controversy in the buildup as fans protested against the Bulgarian Football Union, Hungary’s seventh qualifier for next year’s Euros was played behind closed doors.
It marked Szoboszlai’s 11th game since being appointed captain of his country in 2022, with manager Marco Rossi explaining at the time that he was “a real leader, a strong character, which is rare in his age.”
The 23-year-old’s time as captain has coincided with a remarkable unbeaten run, with Hungary yet to lose since he was given the armband.
Thursday’s clash with Bulgaria proved a difficult one, but with Hungary knowing a result would secure their spot at Germany 2024, they fought back for a vital 2-2 draw.
Szoboszlai’s first assist came after 10 minutes, with the Liverpool midfielder whipping in a free-kick from the right-hand side of the box for Martin Adam to head home.
His team-mates mobbed him in celebration, acknowledging the quality of his delivery.
Bulgaria equalised midway through the half, Spas Delev nicking the ball ahead of Szoboszlai in the box and bending a brilliant effort home.
Both sides were shown red cards before the next goal, with Valentin Antov dismissed for Bulgaria and Milos Kerkez for Hungary, before Kiril Despedov’s penalty put the hosts ahead.
The tie looked to be trailing out to a frustrating defeat for Hungary, only for Aleks Petkov to head Szoboszlai’s free-kick into his own net in the 97th minute.
?? After Argentina’s defeat last night it means Hungary has the longest unbeaten run in world football at the moment.
It’s now 11 games, 1 year, 1 month and 22 days since Hungary was last defeated in a game of football.
Incidentally, Hungary’s unbeaten run started when… pic.twitter.com/hk1OAZDefq
— Bence Bocsák (@BenBocsak) November 17, 2023
A point was enough to book Hungary’s place at the Euros, as they are now guaranteed to at least finish second in Group G, with Szoboszlai the hero again.
He had already scored one and assisted another to salvage a 2-2 draw with Lithuania in the last game of the October break, and stepped up with another captain’s display on Thursday.
Per Hungarian journalist Bence Bocsak, Szoboszlai’s side are now on the longest unbeaten run of any national team in world football.
Elsewhere on Thursday, Diogo Jota assisted Cristiano Ronaldo as he played 90 minutes in Portugal’s 2-0 win away to Liechtenstein.