Euro 2020 | Austria defeat North Macedonia 3-1 in Bucharest
Austria have beaten North Macedonia 3-1 in Euro 2020's Group C in Bucharest.
Stefan Lainer gave Austria the lead with a brilliant volley before Goran Pandev punished some awful Austrian defending to draw North Macedonia level just before the half hour mark.
Michael Gregoritsch restored Austria's lead in the 78th minute before Marko Arnautovic's 89th-minute strike put the game beyond doubt for Franco Foda's side.
After a quiet opening quarter of an hour, which saw Austria dominate the ball against a North Macedonia side appearing in their first ever match at a major tournament, Lainer gave the favourites the lead in the 18th minute.
Marcel Sabitzer showed wonderful vision to pick out Lainer at the back post with a pinpoint lofted through ball from a deep position, and Lainer applied an excellent finish from an acute angle, volleying the ball back across North Macedonia goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski into the far corner.
Sasa Kalajdzic should have made it 2-0 a few minutes later, but could only stab a tame effort from 10 yards straight at Dimitrievski after being picked out by a cross from the left.
Austria were the architects of their own downfall in the 28th minute, gifting North Macedonia a comical equalizer.
Pandev was in the right place at the right time to coolly finish into an empty net after Martin Hinteregger's clearance rebounded off his teammate Sabitzer and bounced back towards his own goal.
Austria goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann came off his line, but somehow fumbled the ball when trying to pounce on it, allowing Pandev to take a touch and finish into an empty net from 10 yards for the tournament's lowest-ranked team.
The sides went in level at half time, and it took Austria until the latter stages of the second half to wear down a resilient North Macedonian defence in Hungary.
In the 78th minute, substitute Gregoritsch prodded past Dimitrievski from six yards after a superb cross from Austria captain David Alaba on the left flank.
Fellow substitute Arnautovic made it 3-1 in the 89th minute, dribbling around Dimitrievski and slotting the ball into an empty net after a clever one-two on the edge of the box.
In Group C's other match, the Netherlands defeated Ukraine 3-2 in a thrilling five-goal contest in Amsterdam.