UEFA Under-21 EURO 2025 Qualifier
Hungary 0-0 Scotland
Tuesday, 17 November 2023
Hidegkuti Nándor Stadium, Budapest
Liam Morrison flew home after being ruled out of the Belgium match through injury, while Matthew Anderson - who went off injured in Roeselare - also left the camp and returned to his club.
However, the squad was boosted by the return of Ryan Duncan following illness. Cole McKinnon and Robbie Fraser were also both drafted in at left back Fraser started in place of Anderson as Gemmill made just one alteration from the impressive victory in Belgium on Friday.
As It Happened
Scotland were determined to build on their three game winning streak from the whistle, putting pressure on the Hungarian side. Ben Doak, back in a right wing position, won a free kick within the first minute, creating a promising start for Scotland.
Kieron Bowie grabbed two goals against Hungary last month at Fir Park and he was next to fuel the charge forward in the 4th minute as he played the ball to Cameron who fired just wide.
As the first half wore on though, Hungary began to dominate possession and test Scotland's resolve with slick passing and threatening runs. They had goalkeeper Ciaran Slicker to thank keeping the scores level as he made a superb triple save, twice denying Dunajska Streda and then saving from Milan Vitalis.
Connor Barron was named captain again and he tried to wrestle back momentum with a shot at goal from the edge of the box that flashed narrowly off target.
Hungary then enjoyed a sustained period of pressure with a number of corners delivered into the box. One of these corners saw Slicker made an outstanding save as he spread himself to block from Vitalis.
With Scotland still very much in the game, their defensive efforts almost allowed them a platform to take the lead just before the break.
Doak pinched possession on the halfway line and bore down on goal but unfortunately he was forced wide, allowing Hungarian goalkeeper Krisztian Hegyi to save.
Scotland had struggled in the first half but the second half was a much more even affair as the young Scots enjoyed a lot more possession and their hosts failed to threaten as much.
Gemmill made his one and only change after 66 minutes, with Leon King coming off and being replaced by Dire Mebude - with Lyall Cameron dropping to centre midfield.
This change soon led to a chance for Scotland as Doak's skill set up Mebude whose shot deflected narrowly wide.
After a much better second half, Scotland were presented with a golden opportunity to win the game in the dying moments. Barron's superb lofted ball found Mebude who was brought down by Hungary captain Peter Barath after a delicious first touch by the subsitute.
Ben Doak stepped up and took the penalty in the 87th minute, shooting low to the left of the goal but it was well saved by Hegyi.
With four minutes added on, Scotland kept pushing, hoping in the last few minutes for another late chance, but as the full-time whistle blew the score remained 0-0.
The result means Scotland finish with a fantastic four points from a difficult double header away to Belgium and Hungary.
Scotland - who are unbeaten in four - sit second in Group B, with 10 points from 5 matches, ahead of Belgium on goal difference.
Match report by Francesca Fairlie
After a successful start to the campaign, the Scotland Under-21s next face Kazakhstan in March next year.
Scotland: Slicker, Devine, Fraser, Bowat, King, (Mebude 67’) Doak, Barron, Neilson, Cameron, Bowie, Mullen
Unused Substitutes: Newman, Mckinnon, Mellon, Lowry, Denholm, Fotheringham, Roberston, Duncan
Hungary: Hegyi, Szabó, Csinger, (Yaakobishvili 5’) Kata, Baráth, Eörodögh, (Kovács 74’), Kosznovszky, (Bényei 80’) Vitális, Benczenleitner, Horváth, (Lisztes 80’), Vancsa, (Gruber 45’)
Unused substitutes: Kocsis, Dúzs, Kállai, Okeke