Hungary salvages 1-1 draw with Iceland amid crowd trouble
MARSEILLE, FRANCE >> There are good draws and there are bad draws. Iceland has had one of each.
The tiny island nation, making its debut at the European Championship, came close to winning its first match at a major tournament on Saturday, but a late own-goal gave Hungary a 1-1 draw.
"We were so close," said Iceland forward Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, who was named man of the match. "It's quite a big loss for us, this draw."
Iceland's opening Group F match also ended 1-1, but that was against a Portugal team led by Cristiano Ronaldo. The final whistle on Tuesday was met with jubilation, a far cry from the despair that followed Saturday's ending.
Iceland was leading at Stade Velodrome after Gylfi Sigurdsson converted from the penalty spot in the 40th minute, but teammate Birkir Saevarsson then scored an own-goal in the 88th.
Hungary now has four points in Group F and looks set to qualify for the round of 16. Iceland has two points and next plays Austria.
"I think we've invested everything to deserve to win this game. We have forced this goal and I think we deserved it," Hungary coach Bernd Storck said. "They never gave up. We deserved this point."
Four third-place teams in the six groups will advance to the round of 16, so Iceland will know what it needs to do against Austria because it will be among the final teams to play.
Before the tournament, few expected much from Iceland — a country with a population of less than 350,000, by far the smallest at the tournament. But in two matches so far the team has shown it can compete.
Sigurdsson gave Iceland the lead from the spot when he hit the ball low and hard to veteran goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly's right.
The penalty followed a chaotic scramble in the area after Kiraly caught, then dropped, a cross from Johann Gudmundsson. In the ensuing melee, Russian referee Sergei Karasev ruled that defender Tamas Kadar had fouled Aron Gunnarsson.
"There was definitely a touch," Iceland co-coach Heimir Hallgrimsson said. "Some would say it was a soft penalty."
Iceland veteran Eidur Gudjohnsen nearly scored a winner with the final kick of the match, but his low shot from the edge of the box was deflected wide.
"We should have kept calm and played the ball more," Sigthorsson said. "When we got the ball we weren't calm enough."
There was also trouble from the fans, a running problem at Euro 2016. As Hungary's players celebrated the late equalizer, the team's supporters threw flares which landed on the field and among nearby police officers. Several loud bangs were heard and there was a cloud of smoke, delaying the restart.
Before the match, Hungarian fans clashed with stewards and a small group of French police as they forced their way over a fence in a corner section of the Stade Velodrome in an attempt to cross into another stand and join a hardcore fan group behind the goal.
A flare was later waved during the national anthems in the Hungarian end, which was packed with supporters in black t-shirts, and a firecracker was thrown onto the field from the same part of the stand after the referee awarded the penalty.
Another flare was lit after the final whistle when Hungarian players ran to celebrate with supporters.
Hungary is likely to face a significant fine from UEFA after repeated crowd trouble, a day after fighting and flare-throwing by Croatian supporters. Hungary is already facing a UEFA charge for using fireworks in its opening 2-0 win over Austria.