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Gregoritsch, Arnautovic strike late as Austria sink North Macedonia

FOOTBALL By Reuters | June 13th 2021
June 13, 2021 North Macedonia's Milan Ristovski in action with Austria's Martin Hinteregger Pool via REUTERS

Late goals from substitutes Michael Gregoritsch and Marko Arnautovic gave Austria a convincing 3-1 victory over European Championship debutants North Macedonia in an entertaining opening Group C clash on Sunday.

Gregoritsch prodded home David Alaba's cross in the 78th minute before Arnautovic struck in the 89th, as Austria earned a first win at the Euros at their seventh attempt and their first victory at a major tournament since the 1990 World Cup.

Stefan Lainer put Austria ahead with an acrobatic effort in the 18th minute when he latched on to Marcel Sabitzer's cross-field pass at the back post, leaping into the air to beat keeper Stole Dimitrievski from a tight angle.

North Macedonia captain Goran Pandev equalised 10 minutes later to bag his team's first-ever goal at a major tournament after capitalising on a mix-up in the Austrian defence, but it was not to be for the tournament's lowest-ranked team.

Austria resume their campaign against Netherlands in Amsterdam on Thursday, while North Macedonia stay in Bucharest to face Ukraine.

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