Austria 0-2 Hungary, Group F
Adam Szalai scored his first goal in all competitions for over 18 months as Hungary produced a shock victory over 10 man Austria in Bordeaux.
In the first match of Group F, Hungary’s shock win sees them top of the group, despite Austria being heavy favourites for the match.
The Magyars went ahead after some neat link up play between Szalai and Laszlo Kleinheisler set the big striker away, before he confidently slotted home past the onrushing Austria keeper Robert Almer.
Austria, ranked tenth in the world, were down to ten men courtesy of Aleksandar Dragovic’s red card for a harsh second booking midway through the second half.
Hungary confirmed the victory late on when Zoltan Stieber chipped Almer just three minutes from time.
Aside from David Alaba’s first minute long range effort hitting the post of Gabor Kiraly, who became the oldest ever player in European championship history at 40, Hungary were relatively unchallenged.
Austria had a chance to take the lead five minutes before half-time when Stoke City winger Marko Arnautovic played an exquisite one-two with Zlatko Junuzovic, races clear but his low cross is too long and Harnik can only slide wide
This was the 44th anniversary of Hungary’s last match at the Euros – a defeat to USSR at the semi-finals stage in 1972, and in the second half, Hungary showed glimpses of their more illustrious past.
A quick counter-attack ended with Kleinheiser and Szalai sharing the ball between themselves before Klenheisler found his centre forward in space, and Szalai ended a goal drought stretching 40 games.
Austria failed to threaten Kiraly’s goal after Szalai’s goal as the Hungarian defence were largely untroubled by the Austrian attack, with striker Marc Janko hardly in the game at all and Arnautovic also cutting a frustrated figure at times.
Stieber’s chip on the counter attack three minutes from the end confirmed an unlikely win for Hungary and gives them an excellent chance of qualifying to the last 16, with Austria now in major trouble.
Hungary play Iceland – the smallest nation at the championships – in their next match on Saturday, while Austria play group favourites Portugal fighting to save their tournament.