Substitutes Michael Gregoritsch and Marko Arnautovic scored late targets as Austria sealed a 3-1 victory over main match debutants North Macedonia of their Group C opener at Euro 2020 on Sunday.
Stefan Lainer put the Austrians forward early on in Bucharest, however 37-year-old captain Goran Pandev levelled earlier than the half-hour mark to change into the second-oldest scorer in Euro historical past and delight the vocal Macedonian followers.
However Gregoritsch diverted residence the deciding objective 12 minutes from time and Arnautovic added a 3rd to make sure Austria claimed their first-ever European Championship win and struck first blood in a gaggle additionally containing the Netherlands and Ukraine, who meet in Amsterdam later within the day.
Austria subsequent go to the Dutch on Thursday, whereas North Macedonia keep within the Romanian capital to face Ukraine.
After a brilliant begin by Igor Angelovski’s Macedonians on Sunday, Austria struck in opposition to the run of play within the 18th minute as right-back Lainer met Marcel Sabitzer‘s cross on the again publish to volley previous goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski.
Lainer celebrated by holding up a shirt with the phrases “Eriksen keep robust” after Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest of their recreation in opposition to Finland on Saturday.
It was the primary time Austria had taken the lead in a European Championship recreation.
They rapidly threatened a second objective as Sasa Kalajdzic turned Sabitzer’s move too near Dimitrievski.
However North Macedonia continued to press and levelled within the twenty eighth minute as Austria goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann misplaced the ball as he slid out to gather it after some comical defending, and Pandev gleefully accepted the present to fit into an empty web.
It was a record-extending thirty eighth objective for the previous Inter Milan ahead for his nation, making him the second-oldest participant to web within the match after Austrian Ivica Vastic on the age of 38 in opposition to Poland in 2008.
Austria coach Franco Foda despatched on Arnautovic and Gregoritsch as his facet dominated the early levels of the second half, however North Macedonia remained a hazard on the break and Boban Nikolov was denied on the hour mark by an onrushing Bachmann.
Minutes later it was Austria who nearly cast forward, however Gregoritsch’s header was excellently palmed away by Dimitrievski.
Neither facet sat again to guard their level, nevertheless it was the underdogs who continued to look threatening and Ezgjan Alioski and Eljif Elmas each had efforts properly blocked.
Austria’s high quality shone by way of within the closing levels, although, as Gregoritsch nipped forward of Dimitrievski to stab residence David Alaba’s low cross.
Within the 89th minute, Shanghai Port ahead Arnautovic ran clear, rounded the goalkeeper and tapped in to provide the scoreline a barely flattering complexion.