As far as international debuts go, Laszlo Kleinheisler’s debut might just go down as one of the most memorable of all time, at least back in his native Hungary, as Nemzeti Tizenegy inched nearer to their first major tournament in three decades on Thursday.
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Kleinheisler, 21, scored the only goal (below video) in Hungary’s 1-0 victory over Norway, putting the Hungarians very much in the driver’s seat in the two sides’ 2016 European Championship qualification playoff.
Norway’s best chance came in the 88th minute, when they had not one, but two golden opportunities within five seconds of each other. Hungarian goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly rushed off his line to save Stefan Johansen’s shot from the corner of the six-yard box. The ball floated into the air, right in front of the empty goal no more than eight yards out, but Pal Helland botched his ensuing header, sent the ball high into the air and pinged the crossbar with no one around to make the save.
Sunday’s second leg (2:45 pm ET) will decide the first of four remaining places in next summer’s tournament in France. With a victory in the first leg, and a vital away goal to boot, Hungary are very much on the brink of qualifying for their first major tournament since the 1986 World Cup, and their first EURO since 1972, when they finished fourth.