The much-travelled Dardai has shaken up the team since their 2-1 home defeat to Northern Ireland in their opening game two months ago.
Friday’s win means they have taken seven points from their last three matches and the victory means they are three behind leaders Romania (10) and two behind the Irish. Finland have four points from their four matches.
There were chances at both ends on Friday with Finland going close to scoring two minutes before the break when Jere Uronen beat the offside trap but his crisp shot was parried onto the righthand post by keeper Gabor Kiraly.
Despite losing skipper Roland Juhasz to a broken rib 12 minutes into the second half, the Hungarians battled well without scoring until the 84th minute when Ferencvaros favourite Gera scored with a glancing header to send the Hungarian crowd crazy.
Gergo Lovrencsics set up the goal with some fine jinking play wide on the right before whipping in a cross which Gera converted.
“The supporters were amazing, they were patient and that meant a lot for the players. It was everybody’s win, the players were fantastic, the staff worked well, the Hungarian media was fair to us,” Dardai enthused at his post-match news conference afterwards.
“If we co-operate this way and keep together, we could win games likes this.”
Finnish coach Mixu Paatelainen admitted they had been surprised by how well Hungary played.
“I must admit we thought we could get a better result,” he said.
“Hungary surprised is. They played much better than we thought they would, they were stronger physically than what we expected.
“We tried to get a draw from this match but at the end, Hungary deserved the win.”
(Editing by Mike Collett)