Hibs’ Adam Bogdan has dedicated his man-of-the-match display against Asteras Tripolis last night to the memory of his compatriot and fellow goalkeeper Marton Fulop, who passed away in November 2015.
Fulop, who played for clubs in England including Sunderland, Leicester and Manchester City, took a break from the game in 2013, after having a malignant tumour removed from his arm.
Despite planning a return to the game in 2014, he lost his battle the following year at the age of just 32.
Fulop’s last club was, coincidentally, Asteras Tripolis, for whom he made 28 appearances. The Greek Super League side have a memorial to the goalie at their Theodoros Kolokotronis Stadium.
Bogdan posted a photo of himself with the memorial on his Instagram page, with the caption: “It was great to see how Asteras Tripolis remember Marci. Missed you from the game yesterday.”
Speaking to Hibs TV after the game, the on-loan Liverpool ‘keeper paid tribute to his friend and countryman, saying: “I would like to offer my performance to Marton Fulop, who played here.
“I just saw his picture [inside the stadium], and it was very moving, so my performance tonight is for him, and his memory.”
Bogdan pulled off a clutch of fine saves as Hibs stood firm in the wake of an onslaught from Asteras last night.
His stop from substitute Tasos Douvakis was the pick of the bunch, as the big Hungarian threw himself low to his right to tip the ball past the post and prevent a certain goal.
On two other occasions, he came out on top when the Greeks threatened in one-to-one situations as Hibs held on to record a draw, and a famous aggregate win.
Bogdan added: “If you look back at the game, it wasn’t easy but it came good in the end and hopefully everyone can enjoy their night. The fans were amazing.
“We’re into the next round and that’s all that matters.
“I haven’t played for many months and now I’m getting back up to speed and getting sharper, and I’m really happy that I’ve reached a level I always wanted to reach since my injury.
“Since my injury it’s been a long journey but my save [from Douvakis’ header] is up there with my best.”
“Now my task is to maintain this level and in the future, help the team the same way I did today.”
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Bogdan admitted Hibs could have performed better, likening the home side’s second half performance to the Easter Road side’s display last week.
“It was similar to last week; when we were 2-0 down, we gave everything, we needed to go for it - everything or nothing - and that’s what Asteras did in the second half this week,” he continued.
“I felt we should have managed the game better. We should have made it harder for them. We had an extra man but, at times, it looked like they had one man more.”
Despite helping Hibs to a third qualifying round tie against Molde, managed by former Manchester United and Norway international Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Bogdan insisted: “The most important game now is Motherwell on Sunday.
“Games come thick and fast when you’re in Europe, and that’s what we want.
“Everybody needs to adapt and be ready. We can enjoy tonight but tomorrow morning the hard work starts.
“We don’t mind it, we hope that this journey continues but most important now is Motherwell.”