Michael Gregoritsch and Marko Arnautovic earned Austria their first-ever victory at a European Championship as the Austrians defeated North Macedonia 3-1 in a thrilling encounter of Group C at Euro 2020.

Gregoritsch connected on a sublime cross by captain David Alaba in the 78th minute to restore Austria’s lead, before Arnautovic put the result beyond doubt after rounding goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski to give Austria a 2-goal cushion and an important 3-1 victory in what promises to be an enthralling Group C of Euro 2020.

Stefan Lainer had opened the scoring for the Austrians in the 18th minute before veteran Macedonian striker Goran Pandev looked to have earned a memorable point for Euro 2020’s lowest-ranked side on his 120th appearance, 20 years since his international debut.

The 37-year-old Genoa forward, part of Jose Mourinho’s treble-winning Inter Milan side of 2009-10, pounced on a defensive mix-up and slotted into an open goal after 28 minutes to cancel out Lainer’s strike.

Borussia Monchengladbach right-back Lainer had produced a fine finish to give an uninspiring Austria the lead by leaping to volley in RB Leipzig captain Marcel Sabitzer’s excellent pass.

Gregoritsch held up a shirt reading “Eriksen stay strong” following his goal after the Denmark midfielder collapsed in his side’s Euro 2020 match against Finland on Saturday.

Michael Gregoritsch

Michael Gregoritsch of Austria holds a t-shirt with a message of support for Christian Eriksen of Denmark (Photo by Marko Djurica – Pool/Getty Images)

Austria manager Franco Foda called on ex-West Ham forward Arnautovic and Gregoritsch to bolster the attack after an uninspiring first half and that paid dividends as both the substitutes led their team to victory.

Dimitrievski was at full stretch to keep out Gregoritsch’s glanced header before the Augsburg player made the breakthrough and Arnautovic – Austria’s top scorer in qualifying – grabbed his first international goal in two years.

North Macedonia face Ukraine in a do-or-die match on Thursday while Austria meet the Netherlands in a clash that will see the winner almost ascertaining their place in the knockout stages of Euro 2020.