Hungary produced a Euro 2016 shock with a win over 10-man Austria as both teams opened their campaigns in France.
Austria almost scored the quickest ever goal at the Euros but David Alaba’s shot after 28 seconds hit the post.
Hungary contained their rivals and took the lead when Adam Szalai slotted in Laszlo Kleinheiser’s pass.
A disappointing Austria had Aleksandar Dragovic sent off for a second bookable offense before Zoltan Steiber sealed Hungary’s win with a composed dink.
Hungary were back at a major tournament for the first time since the 1986 World Cup and triumphed by virtue of superior work-rate, organization and quality.
They might not have had as many household names as their rivals but they had more of a team ethic and were rewarded when Szalai – having been involved in the build-up twice – put them in front. In the closing moments Steiber coolly lifted the ball over the keeper to seal the win.
It was also a memorable day for Hungary keeper Gabor Kiraly, 40, who overtook Lothar Matthaus’ record to become the oldest player to appear at a European Championship finals.
He defied his years when he dived low to his left to save Junuzovic’s deflected shot but, overall, he had little to do.
Former West Brom and Fulham midfielder Zoltan Gera, 37, was an influential presence for Hungary in midfield as he made the most tackles of any player on the way to a famous win for his country.
Austria had high hopes at Euro 2016 after they won nine out of 10 matches in an unbeaten qualifying campaign.
However, Alaba’s early effort aside, they struggled to live up to the expectation as key forwards Zlatko Junuzovic, Marko Arnautovic and Marc Janko were comfortably marshaled by the Hungary defense.
Arnautovic did produce one lovely flick in a one-two that opened up the Hungarian defense but, after receiving the ball at the far post, Martin Harnik mishit his effort at goal.
Junuzovic, who had 10 assists in the Bundesliga as he helped Werder Bremen avoid relegation last season, went off with an ankle injury and Austria manager Marcel Koller will be concerned by the seriousness of that as well as the lack of cohesion and quality from his side.
Austria coach Marcel Koller: “I think we started well. Essentially I think we were too nervous in the first half and lost the ball too often unnecessarily. We gave Hungary the chance to have possession too often.”
Hungary boss Bernd Storck: “We knew what to expect from Austria and we knew what their strengths were. We took their important players out of the game which was key, and that was vital to our success.”
The stats you need to know
- Szalai’s goal was his first for club or country since December 2014, when he netted for Hoffenheim against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga.
- It was also Szalai’s first goal in 41 matches.
- Austria have gone 13 games without a clean sheet at a major tournament, last keeping one against Algeria at the 1982 World Cup.
Hungary’s next game is in Marseille where they take on Iceland at 17:00 BST on Saturday, 18 June, while Austria are in Paris to take on Portugal at 20:00 BST on the same day.