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Hungary beat Austria on Ádám Szalai's first goal in 18 months

Once upon a time, Ádám Szalai was a good striker. Then he went 49 games for club and country without scoring. He broke that streak on Tuesday.

Ian Walton/Getty Images

Euro 2016 so far has not been a place for strikers to make their mark. Of the 17 goals scored in the tournament before Austria and Hungary kicked off Day 5 of the tournament, only five were scored by forwards. So imagine the surprise when Hungary's Ádám Szalai, who had not scored a goal for club and country since December 12, 2014, broke the deadlock between the two teams in the second half.

The Hungarian was not always this unreliable for club and country. His first goal for Hungary came on a day where he scored a hat trick, against San Marino, in 2010. In 2013, his 15-goal season for Mainz led to a transfer to then Champions League team Schalke. But the goals came fewer and far between until they didn't come anymore. Then his fate changed on Tuesday

Szalai was modestly seen throughout the first hour of the match, as Austria controlled the game. He played like a striker does when he hasn't scored in 49 games. He had one shot to his name, very few touches, and missed a ball completely at one point.


Credit:Ian Walton/Getty Images

In the 63rd minute, though, Szalai's luck changed as László Kleinheisler delivered a smart ball into the edge of the penalty area. Szalai, standing just behind Austrian captain Christian Fuchs in an onside position, received the pass. He slotted the ball past Austrian goalkeeper Robert Almer to score his first goal since a game against Stuttgart almost 18 months ago to the day.

No one expected to Hungary to beat Austria, mostly because they field players like Szalai. And they won 2-0, mostly because players like him finally showed up.