Bajner the hat-trick hero

Balint Bajner scored a tremendous 16-minute hat-trick as Hungary crushed San Marino 6-0 in the first game of their European Under-19 Championship qualifying group.

The West Ham United forward led the line superbly and played a key role as the mini-tournament hosts raced into a three-goal lead soon after the half-hour mark in Nyiregyhaza. In the second half, it was all about the towering Bajner as he struck in the 73rd, 86th and 89th minutes to complete a memorable victory and send Hungary to the top of Group 1. The top two will progress to the Elite round in the spring - with the Jordan Spence-led England already through to that stage - before the summer finals in Ukraine.

Scotland drew 1-1 with Azerbaijan in the other group game played on Monday night to leave the Hungarian hosts two points clear of both teams. Bajner will hope to figure again when Hungary take on Azerbaijan on Wednesday before rounding out the group against the fancied Scots on Saturday. Bajner, still only 17, is well used to playing at this age group as he helped Hungary reach the semi-finals of the 2007/08 edition of the U19 competition in July.

Bajner had long caught the eye of the club's scouting network but finally signed on at the Boleyn Ground at the start of September before scoring on his debut for the Under-18s that same week. This is his second international trip with his country since the start of the season but he has also found time to make an impact at reserve-team level with appearances in the last two games.