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Wednesday, April 28, 1999 Published at 22:16 GMT 23:16 UK

Sport: Football

Hrutka denies England's starlets

Kevin Phillips (right) moves past Hungarian goalscorer Janos Hrutka

Hungary 1-1 England

A superb free-kick from Janos Hrutka denied England victory in Budapest after Alan Shearer had put the visitors ahead with a first-half penalty.

Mike Ingham: "Kevin Keegan may well be satisfied with the result"
England undoubtedly dominated the opening-half, but the home side came back fighting and asked a number of questions of Kevin Keegan's youngsters during the latter stages of the match.

[ image: Alan Shearer converts for England]
Alan Shearer converts for England
England's lead had been achieved after Shearer had been brought down by Vilmos Sebok, seconds after Hungary had unsuccessfully appealed for a penalty of their own.

The England captain made no mistake, driving the ball low into the right hand corner and securing a well deserved lead at the break.

But in a poor second-half performance England always looked vulnerable and when Hrutka struck a bending free-kick, David Seaman was left helpless at his near post.

Nicky Butt had the first chance of the game, after a wonderful move from England, but the Old Trafford midfielder ploughed the ball into the floor with goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly easily taking the shot.

A dipping strike from debutant Kevin Philiips then tested Kiraly slightly more - but the Hungarian keeper kept his eye on the ball to stop it well at the near post.

Macca makes return

Steve McManaman started positively, making a mockery of the Hungarian defence to beat two defenders on the outside but, was unable to cut the ball back to the waiting white shirts.

The first real chance of the game came from Hungary, however, with Seaman making a superb save after Wes Brown had failed to clear an unsuccessful Hungarian free-kick.

It left space for Bela Illes who had been fed through by Pal Dardai with only Seaman to beat - but the Arsenal keeper tipped the ball over the bar.

Controversial decision

England can count themselves lucky for not immediately conceded a penalty after Brown brought down Gabor Halmai on the edge of the England box.

The referee waved play on, however, and seconds later England appealed - this time successfully - for a penalty of their own, after Sebok had brought down Shearer.

Alan Green: "It was a controversial penalty"
It was an unfortunate decision for the Hungarians, but England took their chance - Shearer driving the ball low into the corner for his 23rd goal in 49 international appearances.

If Brown had a shaky start to his international career, Sunderland's Kevin Phillips looked every part the experienced footballer, making dashing runs into the box during the opening quarter, before forcing the Hungarian keeper into a good save at the near post just before the break.

Slower start

The second-half started slowly for England with Hungary, on the other hand, playing the more attacking football.

[ image: Janos Hrutka begins the Hungarian celebrations]
Janos Hrutka begins the Hungarian celebrations
Dombi nearly caught England sleeping with a right-footed volley from 20-yards, but Seaman took a comfortable save.

Seconds later, Dombi caused even more problems, striking a curling shot from the edge of the area, that dipped towards Seaman's right hand corner, leaving the Arsenal keeper with no choice but to push the ball over the top.

It was a good period for the home team who looked far more menacing than before the break.

But despite long-range attempts from Gyorgy Korsos and Gabor Halmai they were unable to break down England's defence.

Illes then fell acrobatically inside the England area, after a challenge from Martin Keown, but the referee again waved play on.

Wes Brown's international debut then came to an end with coach, Kevin Keegan, replacing him with Michael Gray to make it two Sunderland players on the pitch.

England were undoubtedly hanging onto the their lead - and their punishment came in the 74th minute after a challenge from Jamie Carragher.

Janos Hrutka beats the wall and David Seaman
Hrutka stepped up to take the free-kick and struck it perfectly - beating Seaman on the right side of the wall to score the first Hungarian goal against England in 18 years.

The goal clearly shock the visitors - with Keegan immediately substituting Phillips for Emile Heskey up front.

And the Leicester man could have made an immediate difference after Michael Gray left Hungary stranded with a good ball across the face of the goal.

Heskey failed to connect properly, however, with Kiraly blocking the half-hearted strike.


Hungary: Kiraly, Hrutka, Korsas, Matyus, Sebok, Halmai, Dombi, Dardai, Pisont, Illis, Kosos. Subs: Babos, Toth, Somogyi, Egressy, Feher, Dragoner, Herczeg.

England: David Seaman; Phillip Neville, Wes Brown, Martin Keown, Rio Ferdinand; Steve McManaman, David Batty, Tim Sherwood, Nicky Butt; Alan Shearer, Kevin Phillips

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