Austria beat North Macedonia 3-1 to secure first win in Europe

Austria beat North Macedonia 3-1 to secure first win in Europe
Austria’s David Alaba (top), who supplied the cross for Michael Gregoritsch, celebrates with the goalscorer and his teammates. Photograph: Daniel Mihăilescu/Reuters

Austria made history on Sunday by registering their first-ever European Championship win with a 3-1 victory over tournament debutant, North Macedonia in the Group C opener.

It took the Austrians 18 minutes to open the scoring through Stefan Lainer in Bucharest but the Macedonians equalised 10 minutes later through skipper, Goran Pandev, who became the second-oldest scorer in championship history.

A tactical change by Austria's coach, Franco Foda, paid off eventually as substitutes Michael Gregoritsch (78) and Marko Arnautovic (89) scored late goals as Austria sealed a 3-1 victory in the dramatic encounter.

Speaking after the match, Foda, quoted by UK Guardian, said: "We deservedly won and congratulations to the lads, they wrote history today. Overall I'm very satisfied. We started well and deservedly scored the opener. We could have scored a second, but then we didn't focus in one moment and conceded the equaliser.

"In the second half we talked about two or three things, to play faster and more on the wings. We were more agile and the substitutes showed their effect.

"The substitutes were important, which is why you have players on the bench. A team consists of 26 players. With Marko, in preparation he was injured, didn't train that much and that's why I decided to bring him on later. This last week he trained with us more, but I don't know if we want to start him or play him for 60 or 70 minutes [in Thursday's next game against the Netherlands]. The players see it in a different way, but Marko is a key player in our team."

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