On this day in 1975 Wales became the first visiting side to beat Hungary at the famous Népstadion in Budapest.
The Népstadion, or the Puskás Ferenc Stadion as it’s known today, is one of world football’s iconic stadiums as this was the home of the Magnificent Magyars.
With players such as Ferenc Puskás, Sándor Kocsis and József Bozsik Hungary went on an incredible run between May 1950 and February 1956 winning 46 matches, drawing six and only losing once … which just happened to be the biggest game in their history – the 1954 World Cup final against West Germany.
In 1947 the Communist government in Hungary announced it was going to build a grand stadium in the center of Budapest mirroring what was happening in the Soviet Union where the Dinamo Stadion and the Central Lenin Stadion had been built.
The stadium opened in 1953 with a game between Honvéd and Spartak Moscow, the home side winning 3-2, before the national team started their tennancy with a game against Sweden.
In Britain, the Hungary side is probably most famous for being the first side from outside the Home Nations and Ireland to have beaten England at Wembley, but it’s conveniently forgotten, by English fans at least, that the Magyars trounced England 7-1 in the Népstadion six months later!
In 1955 the Népstadion witnessed its largest crowd for a football match when 104,000 people flocked to watch their heroes thrash Austria 6-1 in the Central European Cup.
But within 12 months the heart was ripped out of the side as the Soviet Army was sent in to Budapest to crush the Hungarian Revolution.
As it happens, the majority of the national sides’ stars were not in Hungary at the time as Honvéd had been playing Athletic Bilbao in the European Cup and many of the players including Puskás, Kocsis a Zoltán Czibor refused to return to Hungary and signed for sides in western Europe.
Despite losing such influential players Hungary remained relatively succesful reaching the quarter finals of the World Cup in Chile in 1962 and in England in 1966.
And when Mike Smith led his Welsh team to Budapest in April 1975 their incredible unbeaten record at the Népstadion was intact, 21 years after their first match at the stadium!
However, Wales were on fire in Group 2 of the European Championship qualifiers and had already beaten the Magyars at Ninian Park thanks to goals from Arfon Griffiths and John Toshack.
Toshack put Wales ahead just before half time in Budapest and when John Mahoney silenced the crowd with a second goal 15 minutes into the second half the record was under threat.
Branikovits scored past debutant Dai Davies to reduce the deficit but the Welsh side defended resolutely to record a historic victory.