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Andorra aiming for more glory after famous Hungarian victory

Monday 12th June 2017
During Euro 2016, Hungary participated in one the best games of the competition when sharing six goals in their final group match against eventual winners Portugal. The Hungarians were then beaten 4-0 by an impressive Belgian team in the knock-out phase, but just 12 months later, a shock 1-0 defeat in Andorra has cast into doubt their ability to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Hungary completed a routine 4-0 home win against Andorra back in November, and the minnows from the French-Spanish border had scored just once in five previous Group B games prior to the return fixture in Andorra La Vella on Friday evening. Andorra had claimed their first group point when earning a 0-0 home draw with the Faroe Islands during March, while Hungary had lost 3-0 in Lisbon on the same night, but a comfortable away win was expected this weekend.

Andorra last won a major qualifying match when beating Macedonia 1-0 in October 2004 and the majority of the players are selected from the FC Santa Coloma and UE Santa Coloma clubs plus the FC Andorra team now participating in the Spanish fifth-tier league Primera Catalana. In contrast, the Friday evening Hungarian team consisted of many players experienced in top-flight European Leagues including the Bundesliga and Serie A.

Yet it was Marc Rebes Ruiz from the Andorran team FC Santa Coloma team who captured the headlines at the weekend by scoring the only goal of the game to ensure his team moved from the bottom of Group B to be replaced by Latvia. Ruiz received a straight red card when Cristiano Ronaldo scored four goals in Portugal's 6-0 defeat of Andorra back in October, but the 22-year-old defender has featured in Champions League action for his club team during the past three seasons while progressing to the Second qualifying stage on just one occasion when beaten by Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Marc Rebes Goal HD - Andorra 1 - 0 Hungary 09... by LiveFootball28

It is also worth noting that goalkeeper Josep Gomes Moreira was registering his second successive clean sheet for Andorra, although the much-travelled stopper has featured in a fairly poor domestic campaign with his club CD Illescas as they were relegated from the Spanish fourth tier league Tercera Division this season.

Just over 1,700 spectators witnessed Ruiz and Moreira help Andorra to claim their famous victory on Friday evening at the Estadi Nacional where a record attendance of 3,150 watched Wales claim a narrow 2-1 win in September 2014 with Gareth Bale netting a late winner. When Andorra host European champions Portugal in October, a capacity crowd of 3,500 could be attracted to the stadium in the hope of watching the hosts creating an even greater footballing upset.

Beating Ronaldo's Portuguese team is probably an unlikely scenario for Andorra, and their long-range target is more likely to be directed at finishing third bottom of their qualifying group with the Faroe Islands just one point ahead in the league table. The city of Torshavn will host the clash between the two teams in September with the Islanders hoping to secure a second group victory after winning 2-0 in Latvia.

Although both Andorra and the Faroe Islands cannot now qualify the 2018 World Cup, that September contest could prove to be as equally competitive as those games involving the top teams in each of the groups.
John Welsh
I am a freelance sports writer specialising in football covering Premier League, EFL and English non-leagues plus top leagues in France, Germany and Italy. I have written for Inside Futbol, Football Weekends plus football previews for Hong Kong Jockey Club, and I’m also the author of book First Touch, a novel covering the exploitation of young African footballers and their experiences in Europe.

Total articles: 31

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