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Who said God was all-powerful? Heroic Hungary make history as Alaba's Austria flop

2:20 AM GMT+8 15/06/2016
HD Zoltan Stieber Hungary
The Bayern Munich midfielder proved far from infallible as his team of mere mortals were humbled by their old rivals in a huge upset in Bordeaux


"David Alaba is our god," Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola said of David Alaba. "He has played in nearly all 10 positions." His preferred role, though, is in midfield - and that is precisely where he was deployed in Austria's Euro 2016 opener against Hungary on Tuesday. However, while Alaba did his best to underline his status as a master of all trades, he ultimately proved far from infallible.

When the 23-year-old has an off day at the Allianz Arena, he can count upon the likes of Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski to bail him out. However, when representing his country, he is surrounded by mere mortals - as was so painfully underlined on a bitterly disappointing evening in Bordeaux for Austria.

Indeed, this defeat will really hurt. Firstly, because it came against their great rivals. And secondly because Austria had not only been the heavy favourites to prevail, but the side ranked 10th in the world had also been talked up as potential dark horses after winning nine games in a row to qualify undefeated for Euro 2016.

They certainly began like the side that had hammered Sweden in Solna last year and, unsurprisingly, Alaba was their driving force, the Vienna native latching onto a loose ball in the middle of the park before unleashing a fine drive that avoided Gabor Kiraly but the not the right post.

Alaba was everywhere in the opening 40 minutes, one minute calling Kiraly into action again after latching onto a clever pass from Marko Arnautovic, the next breaking up play deep inside his own half.

However, ahead of him, Marc Janko was offering nothing in the lone forward role, while behind him, Aleksandar Dragovic and Martin Hinteregger were starting to struggle with the movement of the Hungarian attack - and Laszlo Kleinheisler in particular.

The latter is nicknamed 'Scholes', primarily because he is red-headed, just like the legendary former Manchester United midfielder. However, Kleinheisler also boasts a similarly keen eye for a pass, which he demonstrated just before the break when he threaded the ball through for Balazs Dzsudzsak. However, his skipper took a heavy touch and dragged his shot wide as a result.

Still, a warning shot had been fired. Austria did not heed it, though. With just over an hour of the game gone, Kleinheisler put another team-mate in on goal with another wonderfully weighted pass. Adam Szalai was the recipient and while he might not be the most elegant striker in the world, he did what he was supposed to do, guiding the ball home with the outside of his right boot.

Austria tried to bite back and, in arguably the most dramatic 10 seconds of the tournament so far, they had a goal disallowed for a foul that resulted in the dismissal of Dragovic. Alaba tried to lift those around him but there was to be no way back at that stage and Hungary sealed a thoroughly deserved victory with a sumptuous dinked finish from substitute Zoltan Stieber with just three minutes to go.

Coach Bernd Stocker had spoken beforehand of needing a "miracle" to upset the 10th best team in the world. They got one - winning on their first appearance at a major finals for 30 years as 40-year-old goalkeeper Kiraly became the oldest player ever to feature at a European Championship. Kiraly and his colleagues had achieved immortality, while Austria and their footballing 'God' had been brought crashing back down to earth.