Ádám Szalai’s cool finish propelled Hungary to victory in their first appearance in a major tournament for 30 years – and their first UEFA EURO finals game since 1972.
Austria began the match favourites and David Alaba, unsurprisingly, was at the centre of their play. In the very first minute Alaba hit the post, though perhaps the best chance before the interval fell to Martin Harnik, who slipped as he looked to finish a sweeping move. The prettier football was played by Hungary, though, with László Kleinheisler standing out.
It was Kleinheisler who combined excellently with Szalai for the opener, the 28-year-old sweeping the ball in before running to the boisterous Hungary fans behind Robert Almer’s goal. Not long after, Aleksandar Dragović received a second yellow card to make Austria’s task even tougher and, near the end, substitute Zoltán Stieber broke clear and coolly chipped Almer before celebrating, with the 10,000-plus Hungarian supporters, a win that before the game coach Bernd Storck said would be a “miracle”.
Man of the match: László Kleinheisler (Hungary)
Bremen midfielder Kleinheisler, 22, was the fulcrum of Hungary’s play, not least in making the first goal. There was an intelligence and incisiveness to his play that was vital to producing this result.
Hungary true to traditions
It has not been plain sailing for Hungarian football since the glory days of the 1950s yet the class of 2016 delivered an attractive style echoing that of the Magical Magyars. As a ‘derby’, the match was a little feisty at times, but Hungary were seldom put off their stride once they found their feet after a tricky first few minutes.
Austria need to find feet
With Portugal up next, Austria will need to go at full pelt having shown only glimpses of their superb qualifying form in Bordeaux today. In the first hour Alaba was able to run the show yet once a goal had been conceded and the red card produced, it was clear it was not their day.
Király makes history
Király made history as the first man in his 40s to play in a EURO final tournament – he was not born when Hungary last figured in one. Having been grateful to see the ball bounce back off his post from Alaba’s first-minute shot, the man in the increasingly muddy grey jogging bottoms deserved his clean sheet.