Hungary takes Euro '16 qualifying playoff edge with 1-0 win at Norway

OSLO, Norway (AP) — Laszlo Kleinheisler scored on his debut to help Hungary to a 1-0 win over Norway in the first leg of their playoff for a spot at next year's European Championship in France.

Kleinheisler, a midfielder with Hungary's Videoton, scored the vital away goal in the 26th minute with an angled shot from 15 yards that goalkeeper Orjan Nyland got a hand to but couldn't keep out.

"It was a sensational experience," said Kleinheisler, who got his start at the Ferenc Puskas Academy founded by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a football fanatic. "I was given an opportunity and I took advantage."

The redheaded 21-year-old is nicknamed "Scholes" after the widely-admired former Manchester United midfielder.

Gabor Kiraly, playing his 100th match for Hungary, inspired his team early when the goalkeeper saved a shot from near the penalty spot by Per Ciljan Skjelbred in the third minute.

Hungary wore black armbands in memory of goalkeeper Marton Fulop, who died Thursday of cancer at age 32.

Planet Futbol
Mailbag: World Cup qualifying picks; USMNT, Clint Dempsey, Patrick Vieira

Asked about his former teammate after the match, Kiraly seemed too overcome by emotions to talk.

Norway dominated the second half but its attacks ended weakly, with the best chance being an 88th minute header from Pal Andre Helland that hit the crossbar after high bounce off a great save by Kiraly.

Hungary will be without veteran midfielder Zoltan Gera, whose latest yellow card—for fouling Alexander Tettey from behind—triggered a suspension.

Both teams are hoping to end many years without top-level tournament football.

Hungary last played in a major competition at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico and has not made it to the European Championship since 1972. Norway aims to return to the Euros for the first time since 2000.

Hungary coach Bernd Storck said it was too soon to celebrate as his team still had "a very long 90 minutes" ahead in second leg to be played Sunday in Budapest.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.