Estonia's senior men's national football team went 1:0 down in a friendly away against fellow Finno-Ugric nation Hungary Thursday evening, ahead of their 2024 UEFA European Championships qualification campaign, which starts next week.
Thanks to a penalty save by Arsenal 'keeper Karl Jakob Hein, Estonia avoided losing by a two-goal margin at the Puskas Arena, in Budapest.
The two countries had previously met eight times at this level, last time in 2018 when a 3:3 draw in Tallinn was followed by a 2:0 home win for Hungary, as part of the nations league tournament.
Playing at home again, Hungary enjoyed the bulk of the possession early on, though the first threat came from the visitors as striker Rauno Sappinen (Piast Gliwice) was able to get behind Hungary's defense, around 15 minutes in, only for Hungary's goalie, Denes Dibusz (Ferencváros), to block the shot.
Later in the first half, the hosts became more dominant, with a strike hitting the side netting on the 37th minute, and then going into the net four minutes later from a Martin Ádám (Ulsan Hyundai, pictured) shot.
While Estonia did not give up the fight in the second half, and came close to equalizing via forward Sergei Zenjov (FC Flora) on the 63rd minute, the Hungarian goalkeeper was on form again; Hungary also had a couple of chances and, while they were awarded a penalty after referee Walter Altmann (Austria) consulted with the VAR, Hein pulled off the save, stopping the visitors from going 2:0 down.
The national team starts its Euro 2024 qualification campaign next Monday, away to Austria.
The two countries are in qualifying Group F, together with Belgium, Sweden and Azerbaijan.
Germany hosts the finals, back in the more traditional time of year in June-July, next year. Estonia has yet to qualify for the Euros, though Latvia managed to back in 2004.
Editor: Andrew Whyte
Source: ERR Sport