Former Bayern Munich defender David Alaba captained Austria to a 3-1 win against debutant North Macedonia, in their Group C Euro 2020 opening game in Bucharest, Romania.
It is Austria’s first ever win at the UEFA European Championships since their debut at the 2008 edition which they co-hosted with Switzerland.
Also, it is a first win for Austria in any major tournament since the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy.
North Macedonia, the tournament’s lowest ranked side, started well in Bucharest and were understandably well up for a battle with their more illustrious opponents.
But that good work was undone when Austria opened the scoring on 18 minutes with arguably the best goal of the tournament thus far.
Marcel Sabitzer expertly drilled a ball across goal for right-back Stefan Lainer to turn home on the volley.
But the underdogs were given a route back into the game in the 28 minutes after a calamity of errors gifted a chance to 38-year-old Goran Pandev.
After the ball bounced between two Austrian defenders, Watford keeper Daniel Bachmann conspired to push the ball to Pandev and gift him a chance he was never going to pass up.
In the second half, they continued to frustrate Austria, Dimitrievski in particular who made a full length save to paw away Michael Gregoritsch’s flicked header.
But Gregoritsch finally broke North Macedonia’s resistance when he turned home David Alaba’s inch-perfect cross with 13 minutes remaining.
And in the 90th minute Marko Arnautovic, who was a second half substitute scored the clinching third, rounding the keeper and slotting into an empty net.
The group’s other game will between Netherlands and Ukraine in Amsterdam later on Sunday.